Lady Raiders Hold First Practice

Oct. 3, 2013

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LUBBOCK, Texas -- The Candi Whitaker era officially began on Wednesday as the Texas Tech women's basketball team opened up the 2013-14 season with its first official practice at United Spirit Arena.

The Lady Raiders first practice comes with just 39 days left until the team opens the regular season at home against Texas-Pan American at 4 p.m. on Nov. 10.

"It felt great," Whitaker said. "We're really excited to get things going. We obviously have a lot of work to do but I've been pleased so far. We're just setting a standard of what practices will be like every day and I thought the first one went pretty well. We can get better and we will."

Tech returns seven letter winners from a year ago including three seniors - Kelsi Baker, Haley Schneider and Shauntal Nobles.

The squad also brings in five newcomers including four true freshmen - Diamond Lockhart, Jamaika Hughes, Jasmine Caston and Marina Lizarazu. Junior transfer Audrisa Harrison will wear the scarlet and black for the first time this season after spending the last two seasons at Blinn College while redshirt freshmen Minta Spears and Ivonne CookTaylor look to get back into the lineup after spending 2012-13 sidelined by knee injuries.

Whitaker will look to her veteran players to lead the team this season with a team that has an average age of 19 years and eight months. One of those experienced players looking to make a bigger impact this season and lead is junior guard Amber Battle.

Battle spent most of last season as Tech's first player off the bench, playing in all 32 games and averaging nearly 14 minutes per game. She scored a career-high 12 points in her first career start vs. New Mexico in her hometown of Albuquerque, N.M. last season.

The junior guard showed some of those signs of hard work on Wednesday and earned the first practice's MVP award, handed out by coach Whitaker.

"My role has changed a lot after coming off the bench and now trying to be a more important player," Battle said. "I'm just trying to be a leader, talk more to my teammates, be aggressive and look to score. ... I think a lot of the returners are looking to take the younger ones under our wings. It's our responsibilities to be their leaders."

Tech will continue practices this week and then take part in Saturday's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure near the Lubbock Civic Center.




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