Lady Raiders Join 'Elite' Company

Senior Aleah Johnson and No. 11 Texas Tech face No. 2 Tennessee Monday in the finals of the Mideast Regional at The Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee.

Senior Aleah Johnson and No. 11 Texas Tech face No. 2 Tennessee Monday in the finals of the Mideast Regional at The Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee.
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March 27, 2000

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LUBBOCK, Tex. - 11th-ranked Texas Tech is the No. 3 seed will play No. 1 seed and second-ranked Tennessee in the finals of the Mideast Regional at The Pyramid in Memphis, Tenn. on Monday, March 27. The game will be televised on ESPN at 8 p.m. It will be the fourth meeting between the two schools.

The Lady Raiders
Texas Tech owns a 28-4 mark and captured its third straight Big 12 regular-season title with a 13-3 mark along with Iowa State and Oklahoma. Senior Aleah Johnson leads the Lady Raiders in scoring with a 14.8 average followed by freshman Plenette Pierson at 13.7, senior Keitha Dickerson at 12.1 and junior Katrisa O'Neal at 10.5. Dickerson is Tech's top rebounder as she is averaging 10.1 boards per outing, which is first in the Big 12. Senior Melinda Schmucker-Pharies has a team-high 183 assists, while Pierson owns a team-best 24 blocks and O'Neal has 103 steals.

The Lady Raiders are shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 33.9 percent from the three-point arc and 61.8 percent from the charity stripe.

Scouting the Opponent
Tennessee enters the game with a 31-3 record after defeating No. 4 seed Virginia, 77-56 in the semifinals of the Mideast Regional. In that game, junior Tamika Catchings scored a game-high 28 points, while junior Semeka Randall added 19, freshman April McDivitt 13 and sophomore Michelle Snow 11. Snow grabbed 11 rebounds and Catchings and McDivitt dished out three assists apiece. The Lady Vols shot 44.4 percent (28-63) from the field, 33.3 percent (4-12) from three-point range and 73.9 percent (17-23) from the free throw line.

On the year, Catchings paces UT in scoring with a 16.0 average followed by Randall at 14.4, Lawson at 13.7 and Snow at 12.0. Catchings is also the top rebounder, grabbing 7.6 boards per outing. Junior Kristen Clement has a team-high 122 assists, while Catching has a team high of 86 steals. Snow is the top shot blocker with 37 blocks on the year.

The Lady Vols are shooting 46 percent from the field, 37.3 from the three-point arc and 69.6 percent from the charity stripe.

Pat Summit is in her 26th season at Tennessee, establishing a record of 726-149.

2000 NCAA Tournament
Mideast Regional - Elite Eight

No. 1 Seed #2 Tennessee Lady Vols (31-3) vs.
No. 3 Seed #11 Texas Tech Lady Raiders (28-4)

March 27, 2000 - Memphis, Tenn. - 8 p.m..(ESPN)
The Pyramid (20,000)

Probable Starters

Texas Tech Lady Raiders
Head Coach: Marsha Sharp (434-133, 18th season)

Pos.Name (Ht., Yr., Hometown)PPGRPGFG%FT%
F-15Aleah Johnson (6-1, Sr., Carrollton, Texas)
F-25Keitha Dickerson (6-0, Sr., Elk City, Okla.)
C-54Plenette Pierson (6-1, Fr., Kingwood, Texas)
G-3Melinda Schmucker-Pharies (5-9, Sr., Nazareth, Texas)
G-24Katrisa O'Neal (5-6, Jr., Plainview, Texas)

Top Reserves

Pos.Name (Ht., Yr., Hometown)PPGRPGFG%FT%
G-32Amber Tarr (6-0, So., Ozona, Texas)
C-34Tanisha Ellison (6-1, So., Houston, Texas)
G-1Courtney Pastner (5-5, Fr., Kingwood, Texas)

Tennessee Lady Vols
Head Coach: Pat Summitt (726-149, 26th season)

Pos.Name (Ht., Yr., Hometown)PPGRPGFG%FT%
F-20Kara Lawson (5-9, Fr., Alexandria, Va.)
F-24Tamika Catchings (6-1, Jr., Duncanville, Texas)
C-00Michelle Snow (6-5, So., Pensacola, Fla.)
G-33Kristen Clement (5-11, Jr., Broomall, Pa.)
G-21Semeka Randall (5-10, Jr., Cleveland, Ohio)

Series Record
It is the fourth meeting between Texas Tech and Tennessee with the Lady Vols holding a 3-0 overall record and in the Marsha Sharp era. In their last meeting, UT was victorious 79-71 on Dec. 18, 1996 in Lubbock, Texas.

A Look Back
(AP) - Texas Tech finished what Notre Dame started Saturday.

Aleah Johnson scored 18 points and Texas Tech rallied from a 17-0 deficit to beat Notre Dame 69-65 on Saturday in the NCAA Mideast Regional semifinals. The Lady Raiders answered that opening spurt with their own 17-0 run.

Second-seeded Notre Dame had won 23 of its last 25 games, which helped the Fighting Irish to a No. 5 ranking. They also had a decided height advantage inside thanks to All-American center Ruth Riley.

Notre Dame even scored the first 17 points of the game and led by as much as eight in the second half.

It wasn't enough.

The Lady Raiders pecked away at that lead with outside jumpers and finally took the momentum when Riley got into foul trouble.

Texas Tech tied the game at 46 on a 3-pointer by Melinda Schmucker-Pharies midway through the half. Johnson then took over, scoring eight of the next nine points. Her inside basket with 8:12 left gave the Lady Raiders their first lead of the game at 50-48.

Riley tied it at 50 but picked up her fourth foul seconds later. Katrisa O'Neal hit a free throw, and Johnson scored twice for a 55-50 lead that Texas Tech never lost.

Pierson finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for Texas Tech. Keitha Dickerson added 12, and Schmucker-Pharies had 11 and seven assists.

Notre Dame didn't get much help from Alicia Ratay, the Big East's freshman of the year. She only had two points. Riley had 19 points before fouling out, and Danielle Green added 15. Julie Henderson and Ericka Haney each had 10.

Riley jump-started Notre Dame with nine points in the Fighting Irish's opening run, which was helped by seven turnovers by the Lady Raiders in the first six minutes.

Texas Tech didn't score until 13:06 on a breakaway layup by Pierson, and that woke up the Lady Raiders. They got back into the game by scoring the next 15 and tying the game at 17 before Notre Dame went back up and led 28-23 at halftime.

Lady Raider Head Coach Marsha Sharp
One of the most respected and well-known coaches in Texas Tech history, head coach Marsha Sharp is 434-133 in her 18th year at the helm of the Lady Raiders. The 1999 Big 12 Coach of the Year, for the second consecutive year, has led the Lady Raiders to 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 10 consecutive, and five NCAA Sweet 16 appearances and the NCAA National Championship in 1993. 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 claimed her 400th career victory last season in the 83-71 win at Colorado on Feb. 24, 1999.

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.

Texas Tech in the NCAA Tournament
Texas Tech is making its 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its 11th consecutive bid into the event. The Lady Raiders have advanced to Sweet 16 six times, the Elite Eight three times, the Final Four once and won the National Championship in 1993. Tech owns a 1-1 record in the Elite Eight.

Last Elite Eight Appearance
Texas Tech holds a 1-1 record in the Elite Eight with its last appearance being in 1995 with an 80-59 loss to Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn. on March 25. The Lady Raiders' only win in the Elite Eight was in a 79-54 triumph over Colorado March 27, 1993 as they went on to win the National Championship that year.

Common Opponents
This year Texas Tech and Tennessee had just one opponent in common as both teams played Texas. The Lady Vols defeat the Longhorns, 106-66, on Dec. 30 in Knoxville, Tenn. The Lady Raiders went 2-1 against Texas, winning the first two meetings - 73-44 in Lubbock, Texas on Feb. 3 and 91-85 in double overtime in Austin, Texas Feb. 23 and then lost to Texas in the semifinals of the Big 12 Conference Tournament, 68-50, in Kansas City, Mo., March 9.

NCAA Stats
As of games through March 13, Texas Tech is ninth in the nation in scoring defense at 55.9. Tech is also 11th in won-lost percentage at .862 and 18th in scoring margin at 14.2.

Junior Katrisa O'Neal is 22nd in steals with a 3.2 average and senior Keitha Dickerson ranks 22nd in rebounding with a 10.2 average.

Dickerson Surpasses 1,000
Senior Keitha Dickerson' surpassed the 1,000-point plateau as she scored 12 points in the Lady Raiders victory over Notre Dame March 25. She now has 1,001 points in her four years at Texas Tech.

Johnson Matches Career High
Senior Aleah Johnson matched her career high of 22 points in the Lady Raiders NCAA Tournament first round win over Tennessee Tech March 18.

O'Neal Up to Second on All-Time Steals List
Junior Katrisa O'Neal's four steals against Tulane March 20 gave her sole possession of second on Tech's all-time list for steals with 268. O'Neal needs 35 more steals to tie Camille Franklin (83-86) for first.

Only Big 12 School Undefeated at Home
Texas Tech wrapped up the regular season with a 14-0 record at home and then won two NCAA Tournament games in Lubbock to conclude the home schedule with a 16-0 mark. Texas Tech is the only Big 12 school to go undefeated at home this season.

11th Straight 20-Win Season
With the victory over Nebraska Feb. 16, Texas Tech claimed its 11th straight 20-win season and its 15th 20-win season under head coach Marsha Sharp. During the Sharp era, Tech has compiled three 30-win seasons, including last year's record of 30-4.

Big 12 Conference Honors
Freshman Plenette Pierson was named the Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year, while senior Keitha Dickerson received second-team All-Big 12 honors and senior Melinda Schmucker-Pharies was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection.

Big 12 Media Teams
Senior Keitha Dickerson was named first-team All-Big 12 by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News and was a second-team selection by the San Antonio Express-News. Senior Melinda Schmucker-Pharies was named second-team by the San Antonio Express-News. Freshman Plenette Pierson received Freshman of the Year honors by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the San Antonio Express-News and the Dallas Morning News. By the Kansas City Star, Dickerson was named to the All-Defensive team and the All-Underrated team, while Pierson was named to the All-Freshman team and junior Katrisa O'Neal to the All-Improved team.

Pierson and O'Neal Receive WBJ Honors
The Women's Basketball Journal named freshman Plenette Pierson as one of its 10 Freshmen All-Americans and junior Katrisa O'Neal one of its 10 Defensive All-Americans. Pierson was the only player from the Big 12 among the Freshman All-Americans, while Nebraska's Nicole Kubik joined O'Neal as a Defensive All-American.

Third Straight Big 12 Title
The win over Baylor on Feb. 29 gave the Texas Tech Lady Raiders their third straight Big 12 Conference title. After being picked to finish fifth in the preseason Big 12 Conference poll, Tech claimed a share of the Big 12 title with Iowa State and Oklahoma.

31 Straight Big 12 Wins at Home
Texas Tech finished the regular season with a 31-game winning streak for Big 12 home games. The Lady Raiders hold a 31-1 record in Big 12 games played in Lubbock. The last time and the only Big 12 home loss came against Oklahoma State in a 78-56 loss Jan. 8, 1997.

Home Court Streak
The Lady Raiders finished the home season with a 29-home game winning streak. Tech's streak ranks them third among NCAA Division I home-court winning streaks. Grambling has the number one streak at 66 games.

Lady Raiders in the Polls
Since January 20, 1992, the Lady Raiders have been ranked in the Top 25 in the Associated Press poll and/or the USA Today/ESPN poll, a total of 153 weeks. That includes this week's rankings of 11th by the AP and in the USA Today/ESPN poll.

Getting the Minutes
This season, Texas Tech has been putting its starters to work. Four of the five are averaging 31-plus minutes a game, including senior Melinda Schmucker-Pharies who is averaging a team-high 36.3 minutes a game. Junior Katrisa O'Neal is averaging 33.8 minutes, senior Keitha Dickerson at 33.7, senior Aleah Johnson at 31.7 and freshman Plenette Pierson at 26.7 minutes per contest.

Most Points of the Season
Texas Tech scored its most points of the season in its last regular-season game of the year with 105 points vs. Baylor Feb. 29. Tech scored 102 points vs. Southwest Texas State Nov. 26. The 105 points was the most for the Lady Raiders since beating Texas A&M, 109-75, March 5, 1994.

Big 12 Player of the Week
Senior Keitha Dickerson was named the Big 12 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for games from Feb. 14-20. She averaged 17.5 points and 9.0 rebounds while leading Texas Tech to wins over Nebraska and No. 18/20 Oklahoma. She connected on 13-of-20 field goal attempts for a .650 percentage and 9-of-14 free throws for a .643 percentage. Dickerson also contributed eight assists and four steals.


Starting Lineups
1) Johnson, Dickerson, Pierson, Schmucker-Pharies, O'Neal: 28-4

Double-Figure Scoring Games: Johnson 27, Pierson 24, Dickerson 23, O'Neal 18, Schmucker-Pharies 9, Ellison 6, Tarr 6, Nagle 1

Double-Figure Rebounding Games: Dickerson 19, Pierson 5, Ellison 2, Johnson 1

Games Leading Tech in Scoring: Johnson 13, Pierson 9, O'Neal 5, Dickerson 4, Tarr 1

Games Leading Tech in Rebounding: Dickerson 23, Pierson 6, Johnson 1

Games Leading Tech in Assists: Schmucker-Pharies 19, O'Neal 10, Dickerson 7, Johnson 2, Tarr 1


TECH TOTALS83-120.692

Ahead at halftime:22-115-07-1
Behind at halftime:6-31-05-3
Tied at halftime:0-00-00-0
Bench outscores opponents:14-08-06-0
Shooting 50 percent or better:7-15-02-1
Shooting under 50 percent:21-311-010-3
Outshooting opponents:21-012-09-0
Outrebounding opponents:20-112-08-1
Outrebounded by opponents:7-34-03-3
Fewer turnovers than opponents:26-416-010-4
More turnovers than opponents: 2-00-02-0
Overtime (1 -2OT):2-00-02-0

Longest winning streak: 10 Sundays: 1-1Wednesdays: 8-0
Longest losing streak: 1 Mondays: 2-0Thursdays: 1-1
Current streak: 3 wins Tuesdays: 3-1 Fridays: 2-0Saturdays: 11-1




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