Texas Tech, Texas Ready To 'Play It Again'|
Feb. 16, 2013
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Sheryl Swoopes has seen a lot of different arenas over the last 20 years.
But there was something about walking into United Spirit Arena for the first time in years this past summer that made her stop and just look around in awe.
"I would have loved to have played here," she said with a smile.
But in all honesty, the new arena host team after team partly thanks to Swoopes, Marsha Sharp and the accomplishments of many Lady Raider teams over the years that helped make an arena like the USA a reality for today's Lady Raiders.
At 2:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, the Lady Raiders that did it all, will walk on to the floor at the Spirit Arena as a team for the first time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their 1993 national championship.
The first 5,000 fans that enter the doors beginning at 1 p.m. will receive a free t-shirt replica of the 1993 locker room championship tee. The 1993 championship game will also be shown on the RaiderVision screens in the arena from 1 to 1:45 p.m.
''It's so amazing to think that all of that really was 20 years ago,'' said Sharp, the former Lady Raider head coach. ''I am so glad that I could be a part of this great event and it really is going to be something else to see all those girls together again.''
Swoopes, Sharp, Linden Weese, Krista Kirkland-Gerlich, Cynthia Clinger, Noel Johnson, Michi Atkins, Patrice Conwright, Janice Farris, Nikki Heath, Diana Kersey, Kim Pruitt, Stephanie Scott, Michelle Thomas and Melinda White all return for the celebration, which will take place during halftime of Sunday's game vs Texas.
And the chosen date could not be any more appropriate. Feb. 17, 2013 is exactly 20 years to the day that Tech beat Texas in Austin to help jump start its title run in 1993.
The Longhorns were the last team to beat Tech that season before the group won 19 consecutive games en route to the Final Four in Atlanta, Ga.
The Lady Raiders beat those 19 opponents by an average of 24 points per game. Tech averaged 88.8 points per game as a team during the run, scoring 100 points or more six times.
But ask any of the girls, and outside of the championship game win over Ohio State, it all goes back to winning the game against Texas.
''That was a special moment for us because they had beat us that season and we had never won there,'' said Swoopes, who scored 955 points that season and averaged 28.1 per game. ''So for us to go in to Austin and win that game, it was huge.''
And Sunday's game will be huge for the current Lady Raiders as well.
Tech (18-7, 8-5 Big 12) is going for its third series sweep over a Big 12 opponent this season as well as its first sweep over Texas (9-14, 2-10) since 2006. A ninth conference win would also mark the most Big 12 wins for Tech under head coach Kristy Curry.
Texas Tech senior Chynna Brown scored 15 points in Tuesday's game for her 17th overall game in double digits this season. Brown has scored in double figures 13 times in the last 14 games and is averaging 15.5 points in Big 12 play (No. 4 in Big 12).
Brown now has 986 career points and is looking to become the second 1,000-point scorer this season for Tech. Senior Casey Morris passed the mark on Jan. 5 and now has 1,131 career points.