Ready To Boil Up An Upset

Texas Tech enters the game with a 25-6 record after beating No. 7 seed and 25th-ranked Virginia Tech in the second round, 73-52, last Sunday.

Texas Tech enters the game with a 25-6 record after beating No. 7 seed and 25th-ranked Virginia Tech in the second round, 73-52, last Sunday.
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March 20, 2001

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2001 NCAA Tournament - Sweet 16
Mideast Regional

No. 2 Seed #12/13 Texas Tech Lady Raiders (25-6)
No. 3 Seed #8/9 Purdue Boilermakers (28-6)

March 24, 2001 * Birmingham, Ala. * 1:37 p.m. CST
Television - espn2
Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center (19,007)

Today's Game
No. 2 seed and 12th/13th-ranked Texas Tech (25-6) will play No. 3 seed and eighth/ninth-ranked Purdue (28-6) in the NCAA Sweet 16 in the Mideast Regional. It is the first meeting between the two schools.

The Lady Raiders
Texas Tech enters the game with a 25-6 record after beating No. 7 seed and 25th-ranked Virginia Tech in the second round, 73-52, last Sunday. The Lady Raiders are led in scoring by sophomore Plenette Pierson, who is averaging 15.0 points a game. Freshman Jia Perkins is averaging 13.1 points, while senior Katrisa O'Neal and junior Amber Tarr are averaging 10.5 and 8.6 points, respectively. Pierson is the top rebounder as she is averaging 7.6 boards a game followed by junior Tanisha Ellison at 5.5. Freshman Jolee Ayers has a team-high 53.2 field goal percentage, while Ellison is shooting 51.9 percent and freshman Dionne Brown 50 percent. Perkins has team highs of 119 assists and 91 steals. Pierson is the top shot blocker with 42 blocks. On the year, the Lady Raiders are shooting 43.7 percent from the field, 35.1 percent from three-point range and 69.3 percent from the free throw line.

Scouting the Opponent
Purdue enters the game with a 28-6 overall record after beating UC Santa Barbara, 75-62, in the first round and #18 LSU, 73-70, in the second round in West Lafayette, Ind. The Boilermakers captured the Big Ten regular-season title after posting a 14-2 record.

On the year, senior All-American Katie Douglas paces the Boilers in scoring with a 15.0 average, followed by senior Camille Cooper at 14.3 and freshman Sherea Wright at 9.6. Copper is the top rebounder, averaging 6.4 boards per outing. Douglas, a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, has team highs of 120 assists and 90 steals. Cooper is also the top shot blocker with 63 blocks. Purdue is shooting 47.6 percent from the field, 35.9 percent from three-point range and 66.9 percent from the free throw line.

Kristy Curry is in her second year at the helm of the Boilers, establishing a record of 51-14.

Series Record
It is the first meeting between Texas Tech and Purdue.

Common Opponents
Texas Tech and Purdue had two common opponents during the 2000-01 season with both teams playing Penn State and Texas. The Lady Raiders posted a 79-71 victory over the Nittany Lions on Nov. 24 in the Paradise Jam Tournament in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The Boilers lost at Penn State, 75-65, Feb. 22. Tech played Texas three times: losing the first game, 63-57, in Lubbock Feb. 10 and winning the last two, 76-60, in Austin Feb. 24 and then in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals, 71-58, March 7 in Kansas City, Mo. Purdue beat Texas, 71-49, Nov. 19 in West Lafayette in the Preseason WNIT.

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 seven times - three straight, the Elite Eight three times, the Final Four once and won the National Championship in 1993.

A Win Today Would...
...give Tech a 26-6 record.

...give Tech a 4-4 record in Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament games.

...mark the second-straight year Tech has advanced to the Elite Eight.

...give Marsha Sharp her 460th 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 459-140 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
Plenette Pierson scored a career-high 28 points as Texas Tech overcame a slow start to beat Virginia Tech 73-52 in the second round of the Mideast Regional on Sunday.

Trailing 27-19 early in the second half, Pierson hit four straight jump shots to tie the game with 16:15 to play.

After the second-seeded Lady Raiders took their first lead on Jolee Ayers' basket, Pierson hit four free throws and two more jumpers to make it 44-35 with 8:51 left.

While Tere Williams, the seventh-seeded Hokies' top scorer and rebounder, sat out because of foul trouble, Pierson capped the surge by catching a pass under the basket, throwing it up and then screaming with surprise and delight after it went in. Fouled on the play, she hit the free throw to make it 49-37 with 7:33 left.

Texas Tech (25-6) advanced to the round of 16 for the third straight year.

Williams had 17 points for Virginia Tech (21-9), which led by as many as nine points in the first half as the Lady Raiders scored a season low of 18 on 28 percent shooting.

NCAA Statistical Leaders
As of games through March 12, Texas Tech ranks 15th in scoring margin at 13.4 and 17th in scoring defense at 59.2.

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.

Third-Straight Sweet 16 Appearance
Texas Tech is making its third-straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and its eighth overall, which is also its eighth time in 10 years.

Pierson Powerful in the Paint
Sophomore Plenette Pierson scored a career-high 28 points in Texas Tech's win over Virginia Tech March 18. Her previous career-high was 27 vs. Southwest Missouri State Nov. 25.

Ritchie Gets on Fire
Freshman Natalie Ritchie matched her career-high 15 points as she came off the bench to help lead the Lady Raiders to victory over Virginia Tech. Ritchie scored her 15 points in 12 minutes of play.

First 100-Point Game of Season
Texas Tech got its first 100-point game of the season in the 100-57 victory over Penn March 16. The last time Tech scored 100 or more points was in the 105-52 triumph over Baylor Feb. 29, 2000.

Everyone Scores
In Texas Tech's win over Penn March 16, every Lady Raider scored in the triumph. Sophomore Plenette Pierson led the way with 19 followed by freshmen Jolee Ayers and Natalie Ritchie with 14 points each and freshman Jia Perkins added 13. Junior Amber Tarr also scored in double figures with 10.

Bench Attack
The Lady Raiders scored 57 of its 100 points from its bench players against Penn, while the five freshmen scored 53 of the 57 points. The five freshmen and the three sophomores combined to score 80 of the 100 points in the victory.

Ritchie Sinks the Three-Bomb
Freshman Natalie Ritchie sank a career-high four three-point baskets in the win over Penn. Ritchie came off the bench to score 14 points in 17 minutes of action. O'Neal Ties Career High in Assists

Senior Katrisa O'Neal tied her career high in assists as she dished out nine against Penn. She set the career-high nine assists against Texas Jan. 10, 1998. O'Neal previous season-high was eight, which she had at Texas A&M Jan. 13.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 347. 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 9-5 against teams ranked in the top 25 after beating No. 25 Virginia Tech March 18. 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), No. 20 Texas (Feb. 10) and No. 10 Iowa State (March 8).

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 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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