Lady Raiders Face Penn

Texas Tech opens the 2001 NCAA Tournament against Penn.

Texas Tech opens the 2001 NCAA Tournament against Penn.
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March 12, 2001

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2001 NCAA Tournament - First Round
Mideast Region

No. 2 Seed #12/13 Texas Tech Lady Raiders (23-6) vs. No. 15 Seed Penn Quakers (22-5)

March 16, 2001 * Lubbock, Texas * 8:05 p.m.
Television - KJTV34 (locally)/ESPN "Fullcourt"
United Spirit Arena (15,050)

Tonight's Game
No. 2 seed and 12th/13th-ranked Texas Tech (23-6) will play No. 15 seed Penn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at approximately 8:05 p.m. No. 7 seed Virginina Tech will face No. 10 seed Denver in the first game at 5:30 p.m. It is the first-ever meeting between Texas Tech and Penn.

The Lady Raiders
Texas Tech enters the 2001 NCAA Tournament with a 23-6 record. The Lady Raiders are led in scoring by sophomore Plenette Pierson, who is averaging 14.4 points a game. Freshman Jia Perkins is averaging 13.2 points, while senior Katrisa O'Neal and junior Amber Tarr are averaging 10.7 and 8.7 points, respectively. Pierson is the top rebounder as she is averaging 7.7 boards a game followed by junior Tanisha Ellison at 5.7. Freshman Jolee Ayers has a team-high 53.2 field goal percentage, while Ellison is shooting 52 percent and freshman Dionne Brown 50.6 percent. Perkins has team highs of 110 assists and 83 steals. Pierson is the top shot blocker with 41 blocks. On the year, the Lady Raiders are shooting 43.4 percent from the field, 34.2 percent from three-point range and 69.2 percent from the free throw line.

Scouting the Opponent
Penn is making its first-ever NCAA appearance and enters the game on a program-record and NCAA -best 21-game winning streak. The Quakers own a 22-5 overall record and won the Ivy League with a perfect 14-0 mark. On the year, senior Diana Caramanico paces the Quakers in scoring with a 21.5 average followed by senior Erin Ladley at 13.3 and junior Julie Epton at 9.7. Caramanico is also the top rebounder, grabbing 10 boards per game. Ladley has a team-high 126 assists, while Caramanico has team highs 54 steals and 25 blocks. Penn is shooting 42.6 percent from the field, 29.4 percent from three-point range and 67.4 percent from the free throw line.

Kelly Greenberg is in her second year at Penn, establishing a record of 40-15.

Series Record
It will be the first meeting between Texas Tech and Penn. The only team in the sub-regional Tech has ever faced is Virginia Tech. The Lady Raiders are 1-0 against the Hokies after a 68-47 triumph on Dec. 21, 1994 in the San Juan Shootout in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Common Opponents???
Texas Tech and Penn did not have any common opponents this year.

Texas Tech in the NCAA Tournament
Texas Tech is making its 14th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its 12th consecutive bid into the event. The Lady Raiders have advanced to the Sweet 16 six times, the Elite Eight three times, the Final Four once and won the National Championship in 1993.

A Win Tonight Would...
...give Tech a 24-6 record.

...mark the seventh-straight NCAA first-round win for Tech.

...give Tech an 8-3 record in first-round NCAA Tournament games.

...give Marsha Sharp her 458th career victory.

Lady Raider Head Coach Marsha Sharp
One of the most respected and well-known coaches in Texas Tech history, head coach Marsha Sharp is 457-140 in her 19th year at the helm of the Lady Raiders. She has led the Lady Raiders to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 11 consecutive, and six NCAA Sweet 16 and three Elite Eight appearances and the NCAA National Championship in 1993. Sharp has led the Lady Raiders to three-straight Big 12 Conference regular-season titles and two tournament crowns. While in the SWC, coach Sharp and the Lady Raiders never finished below third, they won or shared the last five championships, and they captured three Post-Season Classic titles.

A 1974 graduate of Wayland Baptist University, Sharp was named the National Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1994. She also reaped SWC Coach of the Year honors seven times, five consecutively.

The Last Time Out
(AP) - Angie Welle had 25 points and 11 rebounds on March 8 as No. 13 Iowa State beat No. 11 Texas Tech 73-62 to advance to the finals of the Big 12 Conference tournament.

Second-seeded Texas Tech led most of the firsthalf, but Erica Haugen hit a 3-pointer to give the third-seeded Cyclones a 55-53 lead with 7:47 left. Iowa State then scored seven straight points to put the game out of reach.

Lindsey Wilson added 15 points, and Megan Taylor had 10 for the Cyclones. Plenette Pierson scored 13, Jia Perkins 12 and Katrisa O'Neal 10 for Texas Tech.

The Lady Raiders led 33-29 at halftime.

Iowa State lost to Texas Tech 68-60 in the final game of the regular season

NCAA Statistical Leaders
As of games through March 5, Texas Tech ranks 11th in scoring margin at 14.3 and 15th in scoring defense at 58.8.

Tech Tops Schools With Winning Conference Records
Texas Tech ranks first among schools with winning (over .500) conference records in 11 or more consecutive seasons (active streaks only). Tech leads the way with 19-straight years of having a winning record in conference play, which includes the 2000-01 season. Second is Notre Dame with 18 years followed by Virginia and Western Kentucky with 17 years.

Ayers Dishes Out
Freshman Jolee Ayers dished out a season-high three assists in Tech's loss to Iowa State March 8. Her previous career-high was two, which she had done seven times this season.

O'Neal Named Defensive All-American
Senior Katrisa O'Neal was named second-team Defensive All-American by The Women's Basketball Journal. Last year, she was one of 10 Defensive All-Americans by WBJ.

Perkins "Steals" the Show
Freshman Jia Perkins had a career-high six steals in the win over Texas March 7. Her previous career high was five, which she had twice this season.

Pierson, O'Neal and Perkins Get All-Big 12 Honors
Sophomore Plenette Pierson was named second-team All-Big 12, while senior Katrisa O'Neal was a third-team honoree and freshman Jia Perkins was an honorable mention selection.

Perkins Big 12 Rookie of the Week for Third Time
Freshman Jia Perkins was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the third time this year for her performance against Iowa State Feb. 28. In that game, Perkins had 21 points and three rebounds. She went 8-of-13 from the field, and nailed three three-pointers in 37 minutes of play.

Pierson and Perkins Receive Post-Season Honors
Sophomore Plenette Pierson was named second-team All-America by Women's Basketball News Service, while freshman Jia Perkins was named to the All-Freshmen third team by WBNS. It is the first post-season honor for both this year.

Tarr and Ellison Receive Academic Honors
Junior Amber Tarr, a finance major, was named first-team Academic All-Big 12, while junior Tanisha Ellison, a communication studies major, was a second-team Academic All-Big 12 selection. It is the second honor for both.

Pierson Named Big 12 Player of the Week
Sophomore Plenette Pierson was named the Big 12 Player of the Week as she averaged 24.5 points and 12.5 rebounds to lead Texas Tech to two road victories over Top 25 teams last week. She recorded back-to-back double-doubles as she poured in 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds at #16 Colorado and then numbered 24 points and 12 rebounds at #21 Texas. At Colorado, she also had a career-high five blocks, while hitting 11-of-13 free throw attempts in 33 minutes of play. On the week Pierson shot 44.4 percent from the field (16-of-36) and 77.3 percent from the free throw line (17-of-22).

Back-to-Back-to-Back Double-Doubles for Pierson
Sophomore Plenette Pierson got her sixth, seventh and eight double-doubles of the season in back-to-back-to-back games at Colorado Feb. 21, at Texas Feb. 24 and vs. Iowa State Feb. 28. At Colorado, she poured in a game-high 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in 33 minutes of play and at Texas she scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in 32 minutes of action. At home against Iowa State, she had 15 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes.

Off the Bench
Freshmen Natalie Ritchie, Jia Perkins and Jolee Ayers all came off the bench to score in double figures in the win at Texas Feb. 24. Ritchie poured in 14 points, tying a career-high three three-pointers, in 30 minutes, while Perkins added 13 points in 37 minutes and Ayers finished with 10 points in 24 minutes. Freshman Dionne Brown added three points to as Tech's bench scored 40 of its 76 points.

Brown Blocks High
Freshman Dionne Brown recorded a career-high three blocks in the win at Texas Feb. 24. Her previous high was two, which she had done three times this season.

12th-Straight 20-Win Season
The win at Colorado Feb. 21 marked the 12th-straight 20-win season for the Lady Raiders and the 16th time in the 19 years under head coach Marsha Sharp.

Block Buster = Pierson
Sophomore Plenette Pierson tallied a career-high five blocks in the win at Colorado Feb. 21. Her previous career high was three, which she had done five times in her career, including three times this season.

Another Season High From the Charity Stripe
Texas Tech shot a new season-high from the free throw line at Colorado Feb. 21. The Lady Raiders shot 87.9 percent, connecting on 29 of 33 attempts. Sophomore Plenette Pierson and freshman Jia Perkins both went 11-of-13 from the free throw line.

Pierson Improves at Free Throw Line
Sophomore Plenette Pierson has been making a big improvement at the free throw line from the beginning of the season until now. In the first five games of the season, Pierson shot 63.4 percent, hitting 24 of 41 attempts, but in the last five games, she has connected on 24 of 30 attempts for 80 percent.

Ayers Gets First Career Double-Double and Career High Boards
Freshman Jolee Ayers recorded her first career double-double as she had 15 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against Oklahoma Feb. 17. Ayers' previous career high in rebounds was nine against Kansas State.

First Time in 10 Years
Texas Tech's two-straight home losses against Texas Feb. 10 and Oklahoma Feb. 17 marked the first time in 10 years the Lady Raiders have lost back-to-back home games. The last time Tech lost two home games in row came in 1991 with losses to Arkansas, 64-62, Jan. 12 and to Texas, 66-63, Jan. 23.

First Win in Lawrence
Texas Tech's 49-45 win over Kansas Feb. 14 marked the first time the Lady Raiders had won in Lawrence, Kan. Tech is now 4-3 against the Jayhawks and 1-2 in Lawrence.

Streak Stopped
Texas Tech's 41-game home court winning streak came to a halt as the Lady Raiders lost at home against Texas, 63-57, Feb. 10. It also marked their first loss in the United Spirit Arena since it opened in Nov. 1999.

Second Big 12 Loss at Home
The Lady Raiders suffered their second ever Big 12 loss at home against Texas Feb. 10. The only other Big 12 game Tech has lost in Lubbock was against Oklahoma State, 78-56, Jan. 8, 1997.

Largest Crowd of the Season
Texas Tech had 14,852 fans in attendance for the game against Texas Feb. 10. It was the largest home crowd of the season and the third largest crowd ever at the United Spirit Arena.

Katrisa `O'Steal' Breaks Record
Senior Katrisa O'Neal is now Texas Tech's all-time career leader in steals with 342. She matched her career high of seven steals in the win at Nebraska Jan. 17 to surpass Camille Franklin's 303 steals to become the all-time leader.

Tech vs. the Top 25
Texas Tech is now 8-5 against teams ranked in the top 25 after losing to No. 10 Iowa State March 8 . The Lady Raiders were victorious over No. 8 Penn State, No. 16 Southwest Missouri State, No. 13 Oregon, No. 23 Baylor, No. 16 Colorado, No. 9 Iowa State Feb. 28 and twice beat No. 21/23 Texas (Feb. 24/March 7), while losing to No. 19 North Carolina State, twice to No. 12/10 Oklahoma (Jan. 28/Feb. 17) and No. 20 Texas (Feb. 10).

Lady Raiders in the Polls
Since January 20, 1992, the Lady Raiders have been ranked in the Top 25 in Associated Press and/or the USA Today poll a total of 174 weeks. That includes the March 12 rankings of 12th by USA Today/ESPN poll and 13th by the AP.

Did You Know...
...that Tech is hosting its fourth-straight NCAA Sub-Regional.

...that this Tech's second-straight year in the Mideast Region.

...that Tech has two players whose fathers played in the NFL - freshman Jia Perkins' dad, Johnny Perkins, played for the New York Giants and freshman Jolee Ayers' dad, the late John Ayers, played for the San Francisco 49ers.

...that all 12 players hail from the state of Texas.




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