Lady Raiders Set For Big 12 Championship

Head coach Marsha Sharp's Lady Raiders take on Texas, Saturday.

Head coach Marsha Sharp's Lady Raiders take on Texas, Saturday.
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March 14, 2003

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* Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Tournament * Championship Game
No. 3 Seed #8/9 Texas Tech Lady Raiders (26-4)
vs. No. 1 Seed #5/7 Texas Longhorns (24-5)
March 15, 2003 * Dallas, Texas * 6 p.m.
Television - Fox Sports Net
Reunion Arena (16,500)

Saturday's Game
No. 3 seed and eighth/ninth-ranked Texas Tech (26-4) will take on No. 1 seed and fifth/seventh-ranked Texas (24-5) on Saturday, March 15 at 6 p.m. in the championship game of the Big 12 Conference Tournament at Reunion Arena in Dallas. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net. The game can be heard on the All Sports Radio Net work as Ryan Hyatt calls the game.

The Lady Raiders
Texas Tech is 26-4 on the year and finished third in the Big 12 with a 13- 3 record. On the year, senior Plenette Pierson leads the team in scoring with a 17.8 average followed by junior Jia Perkins at 16.4. Pierson is the top rebounder, grabbing 7.7 boards per outing. Pierson is shooting 51 percent from the field and sophomore Cisti Greenwalt is also shooting 50.9 percent. Junior Miklannet Tennal is shooting 38.3 percent from three-point range, while junior Natalie Ritchie is shooting 34 percent. Freshman Erin Grant has a team-high 205 assists, while Perkins leads the team in steals with 77. Greenwalt is the top shot blocker with 74 blocks. The Lady Raiders are shooting 46.7 percent from the field, 32.8 percent from three-point range and 66.5 percent from the free throw line.

Scouting the Opponent
No. 1 seed Texas enters the game with a 24-5 overall record and won the Big 12 regular-season title after finishing 15-1. The Longhorns advanced to the championship game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament by beating No. 4 seed Colorado, 62-47. In that game, junior Stacy Stephens scored a team-high 20 points followed by sophomore Heather Schreiber with 14. Stephens recorded 15 rebounds, while senior Tai Dillard dished out four assists.

On the year, Stephens paces the Longhorns in scoring with a 14.8 average followed by Schreiber at 13.6 and junior Jamie Carey at 10.8. Stephens is the top rebounder as she is averaging 8.9 boards per contest. Carey leads the team in assists with 86, while Stephens and sophomore Kala Bower both have a team-high 49 steals. Stephens is also the top shot blocker with 30 blocks. Texas is shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 40.8 percent from three-point range and 69 percent from the charity stripe. Jody Conradt is in her 27th year at the helm of the Longhorns establishing a record of 695-201. She is also in her 34th year as a head coach with a career record of 812-263.

Series Record
It is the 68th meeting between Texas Tech and Texas with the Longhorns holding a 49-18 advantage. The Longhorns won both games this year, 69-58, Jan. 22 in Austin and 70-67, March 2 in Lubbock. The last time Tech was victorious was in a 61-49 win in Lubbock Feb. 6, 2002.

This Year vs. Texas
Jan. 22, 2003 - The 17th-ranked Texas Longhorns beat No. 7 Texas Tech 69-58, in Austin.

Stacy Stephens had 16 of her 20 points in the second half, and Heather Schreiber had 15 points and a career-high 15 rebounds as Texas snapped Tech's 15-game winning streak and stayed in first place in the conference. Jia Perkins and Plenette Pierson led Texas Tech with 16 points each.

The Longhorns led for the entire game but didn't have it secured until clutch free-throw shooting in the final minute.

Stephens, 1-of-8 from the floor in the first half, hit her first three shots after the break in a scoring outburst that gave the Longhorns a 36-25 lead. Schreiber, who also had a tough shooting night, made up for it with tenacious rebounding and two key baskets in the final four minutes.

Texas led 54-51 before Schreiber turned around Pierson with a slick spin move in the lane and scored. She followed it with another layup to give the Longhorns a 58-51 cushion with 3:33 to play.

The Lady Raiders, who committed 20 turnovers, had to resort to send-ing Texas to the foul line in the final minute. The Longhorns hit eight free throws to seal it. The Longhorns also dominated the rebounding, 46-36. March 2, 2003 - Jamie Carey hit a 3-pointer with 26.1 seconds remaining and scored five points in the last 30 seconds to lead No. 10 Texas to a 70- 67 victory over Texas Tech.

Carey finished with 17 points and Nina Norman scored 16 for Texas, which led by as many as 12 points in the second half, but had to hold on the win. Stacy Stephens and Heather Schreiber each added 11 points. Plenette Pierson scored 22 points and Jia Perkins added 18 for Texas Tech, which shot 28-for-70.

Texas Tech stormed back from a double-figure deficit in the second half, but was never able to overtake Texas.

Carey hit a 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds left, intercepted Tech's ensuing inbounds pass and was fouled. She made two free throws to give Texas a 70-65 lead with 10.7 seconds remaining.

Pierson scored from close range 3.5 seconds remaining, cutting the deficit to two points, but Tech was unable to get another shot. Texas opened the second half with an 11-2 run in the first 2:30 to take a 46-34 lead at the 17:33 mark.

Tech countered with 11 unanswered points, including five from Miklannet Tennal, to close within 46-45 at the 11:15 mark.

Texas led by as many as six points in the first half and led 35-32 at halftime.

After Tech closed within 28-27 with 3:43 remaining on a three-point play by Cisti Greenwalt, Texas responded with a pair of free throws by Nina Norman for a 30-27 lead with just over three minutes left.

Jametra Clark countered with a 10-foot jumper for Tech that made it 30- 29. Texas then got two free throws from Stephens and a 3-pointer from Carey that pushed the lead to 35-29.

Last Time vs. Out
(AP) - Plenette Pierson scored 22 points as No. 8 Texas Tech rallied late to defeat No. 7 Kansas State 71-65 on Thursday in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament.

The Lady Raiders move on to face top-seeded Texas in Saturday's final. Texas Tech hasn't advanced to the league final since 1999, when the Lady Raiders beat Iowa State to win their second-straight Big 12 title. Texas Tech (25-4) trailed for most of the game, but started to come back after Kansas State center Nicole Ohlde picked up her third and fourth fouls in a four-second span. She was taken out of the game with 10:11 left and didn't return until nearly seven minutes later.

When Ohlde left, the game was tied at 52. That's when Tech started the game-turning surge.

Pierson scored with 7:23 left to break a 55-55 tie, then fought for a rebound on defense and Jametra Clark scored on the next possession to put the Lady Raiders up by four.

With 2:46 remaining, Pierson scored on a beautiful up-and-under move to give Texas Tech a 66-61 lead. Kansas State (28-3) never got any closer than three points down the stretch.

Pierson also finished with 11 rebounds.

It was Texas Tech's second win over Kansas State in the past seven days. Texas Tech won the regular season finale between the two 73-64 last week, snapping the Wildcats' nine-game win streak and preventing them from winning their first Big 12 title.

In the first half, Kansas State used its height advantage at nearly every position to keep the Lady Raiders from penetrating into the lane. The Wildcats also outrebounded the Lady Raiders 21-9.

But Ohlde's fourth foul early in the second half seemingly deflated her teammates as they struggled to work the ball inside and couldn't keep Pierson from dominating in the post.

Ohlde fouled out with 20 seconds left.

Megan Mahoney led Kansas State with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Kendra Wecker added 20 points and nine rebounds, while Ohlde had 15 points and eight rebounds.

Lady Raider Head Coach Marsha Sharp
One of the most respected and well-known coaches in Texas Tech history, head coach Marsha Sharp is 505-157 in her 21st year at the helm of the Lady Raiders. Entering the 2002-03 season, Sharp was the seventh active winningest coach among Division I coaches. She has led the Lady Raiders to 15 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 13 consecutive, and nine NCAA Sweet 16 and three Elite Eight appearances and the NCAA National Championship in 1993. Sharp led the Lady Raiders to three-straight Big 12 Conference regular-season titles (1998-2000) and two tournament crowns (1998, 1999). 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.

Sharp was also the head coach of the 2002 USA Basketball World Championship For Young Women Qualifying Team, which won the gold medal in Brazil.

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.

500 and Counting
Head coach Marsha Sharp claimed her 500th-career victory with a 59- 48 win over Oklahoma Feb. 19. Sharp became just the 22nd NCAA Division I coach to reach the 500 plateau.

Tech in the Big 12 Tournament
Texas Tech improved its record to 11-4 in the Big 12 Conference Tournament after beating Kansas State, 71-65, in the semifinals. The Lady Raiders are making their third appearance in the finals of the Big 12 Tournament. Tech holds a 2-0 record in the championship game. The Lady Raiders won back-to- back conference tournament titles as they beat Kansas, 71-53, in 1998 and Iowa State, 73-59, in 1999. Tech has faced Texas twice in the Big 12 Tournament. The first time came in the semifinals in 2000 with the Longhorns winning 68-50. Tech then defeated Texas, 71-58, in the quarterfinals in 2001.

Tech Knocks Off Top 10 Team
Texas Tech defeated No. 4 Kansas State, 73-64, March 6 in Lubbock which was the first win over a top 10 team since beating No. 9 Iowa State, 78- 66, Jan. 19, 2002. It was also the first time the Lady Raiders have beaten at top five team since defeating No. 3 Vanderbilt, 81-71, Dec. 29, 2001. Tech then beat No. 5/7 Kansas State, 71-65, in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament. The game against Texas in the championship of the Big 12 Tournament marks the fourth time in five games Tech has faced a top 10 opponent.

Sixth Double-Double for Pierson
Senior Plenette Pierson recorded her sixth double-double of the season and the 20th of her career as she had 22 points and 11 rebounds in the Big 12 Tournament semifinal game against Kansas State.

Pierson Up the Charts
After the game against Kansas State (3/13), senior Plenette Pierson moved to seventh on Tech's all-time scoring list with 1,512 points. She also moved to third on the career free throw attempts chart (608) and eighth on the all-time field goals made list (567) and field goal attempts (1,134).

Ritchie in Top Five
Junior Natalie Ritchie attempted nine three-pointer against Kansas State (3/13) to move her to fifth on Texas Tech's all-time list for three-point field goal attempts with 415.

All-Big 12 Honors
Senior Plenette Pierson and junior Jia Perkins were named first team All-Big 12, which was voted on by the league coaches. Erin Grant was se-lected as Co-Big 12 Freshmen of the Year. Pierson was also named first team All-Big 12 by the Dallas Morning News, while Perkins was a second-team selection. The Dallas Morning News named Pierson to the All-Senior team and Grant was selected to the All-Freshman team, while Perkins made the All-Defensive team.

Perkins Up To Ninth in Scoring
Junior Jia Perkins scored 21 points against Oklahoma State (3/12) to move her to ninth on Tech's all-time scoring list. She currently has 1,439 points.




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