Women's Basketball Opens Season Monday Night

Plenette Pierson and the Lady Raiders begin regular season play Monday night.

Plenette Pierson and the Lady Raiders begin regular season play Monday night.
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Nov. 19, 2000

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Texas-Arlington Lady Mavericks (0-1, 0-0 SLC) vs. #13/15 Texas Tech Lady Raiders (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
November 20, 2000 - 7 PM
Lubbock, Texas
United Spirit Arena (15,050)

Tonight's Game
Texas Tech opens the 2000-01 season Monday night against Texas-Arlington at the United Spirit Arena at 7 p.m. The Lady Raiders are ranked 13th in the USA Today/ESPN poll and 15th by the Associated Press.

Scouting the Opponent
Texas-Arlington is 0-1 after losing its first game of the season in a 71-51 defeat at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi last Saturday.

Texas-Arlington returns two starters from last year's team that went 13-15 overall and finished the Southland Conference with a 9-9 record. Donna Capps is in her first year at the helm of UTA.

The Lady Mavs' top returning player is senior center Renee Wharekura, who averaged 9.3 points and 5.3 rebounds last season. Also returning is senior guard Tasha Campbell who averaged 8.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last year.

In the game vs. TAMU-CC, Wharekura had a team-high 16 points followed by freshman Sheena Johnson with 13. Wharekura and Johnson each had a game-high nine rebounds. The Lady Mavs shot 45.5 percent from the field (20-44), 27.3 percent from the three-point line (3-11) and 57.1 percent from the charity stripe (8-14).

UTA was victorious in its exhibition game against Spartak, Moscow, winning 82-53. In that game, freshman LaTosha Stigler scored a game-high 22 points, while Campbell added 15. Johnson recorded a double-double with 14 points and 18 rebounds, while Wharekura also tallied a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Tawana Simpson added 10 points for the Lady Mavs. Stigler and Simpson each dished out four assists, while Johnson and Wharekura each had two blocks. Johnson also had six steals on the night. UTA shot 35.1 percent from the field, 45 percent from three-point range and 63.3 percent from the free throw line.

Series Record
Texas Tech holds a 6-1 advantage over Texas-Arlington. The Lady Raiders won the last meeting, 71-47, Nov. 17, 1998 in Lubbock. The only time UTA was victorious was during the first meeting on Dec. 17, 1975 in a 82-65 triumph in Arlington.

Season Openers
Texas Tech is 17-8 in season openers and 13-5 under head coach Marsha Sharp. Last year, Tech defeated LSU, 56-49, Nov. 20 in its season opener in Lubbock in the Secret Four in the Fall Classic. This is the second time in three years that the Lady Raiders have opened the season with UTA. Tech beat the Lady Mavs, 71-47, Nov. 15, 1998 in Lubbock.

Home Openers
The Lady Raiders own a 23-2 mark in home openers and a 17-1 record under head coach Marsha Sharp. Tech's only home-opening loss in the Sharp era was a 67-64 defeat to Grambling State Dec. 1, 1989.

A Look Ahead
Texas Tech will head southeast to the U.S. Virgin Islands to play in the Paradise Jam Tournament Nov. 24-25. The Lady Raiders will face No. 10 Penn State in the first game on Nov. 24 at 4 p.m. CST. The second game will match-up No. 9 LSU and No. 21 Southwest Missouri State at 6:30 p.m. CST. The third-place game and the championship game will be played on Nov. 25. Tech will return home on Nov. 29 to take on Southwest Texas and again on Dec. 4 vs. New Mexico. Both games will tip-off at 7 p.m.

Lady Raider Head Coach Marsha Sharp
One of the most respected and well-known coaches in Texas Tech history, head coach Marsha Sharp is 434-134 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
(Lubbock Avalanche-Journal) - Although the Texas Tech women's basketball team is littered with new faces this season, a very familiar aspect was evident last Wednesday.

The Lady Raiders demonstrated their trademark suffocating defense while dominating the second exhibition game of the season at United Spirit Arena.

Tech dominated the Houston Jaguars, a team made up of former college players and current WNBA players, racking up a 92-51 win. It was defense that propelled the squad to its second preseason victory, holding the Jaguars to a miserable 31.1 field goal percentage (21 of 67) while forcing 22 turnovers.

What it did accomplish was to help the Lady Raiders take control of the game midway through the first half.

The Jaguars actually led early and eventually garnered an 18-15 advantage 8 minutes into the game. Tech, however, began to slowly tighten the clamps on defense.

After hitting 50 percent of their shots (7 of 14) while building the early lead, the Jaguars misfired for the remainder of the half. The Houston squad managed just two more field goals on 19 attempts, watching its field-goal percentage plummet to 27.3 percent by halftime.

In the meantime, the Lady Raiders took advantage and began to distance themselves from the visitors. Tech ended the half on a 30-5 scoring run to take a 45-23 halftime lead.

O'Neal and her teammates continued their emotion and intensity in the second half, scoring 32 points in the first 12? minutes. O'Neal led the charge, scoring nine points during the run.

The Jaguars couldn't answer the Tech explosion with any offense of their own. Their shooting woes continued, as they connected on just 5-of-19 attempts (26.3 percent) in the opening 12:30. Turnovers also continued to plague the squad, with Houston committing 10 during the same time frame.

By then, the game had degenerated into a rout with Tech ahead 77-35. It allowed the Lady Raiders to coast in for an easy win, leaving them happy as they prepare for their season-opener against Texas-Arlington on Monday.

Pierson Preseason Naismith Candidate
Sophomore Plenette Pierson was one of 30 women's basketball players named as a Pre-season Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Candidate announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Pierson was the only player from the Big 12 who was selected as a candidate.

Ritchie Sidelined
Freshman guard Natalie Ritchie will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on her right knee Friday, Nov. 10. Surgery was performed to remove loose bodies.

Katrisa O'Steal
Senior Katrisa O'Neal enters the 2000-01 season second on Tech's all-time career list for steals with 269. She needs 34 steals to tie Camille Franklin for first on the list with 303 steals.

Cudnoski Makes it Through
First the time in three seasons, redshirt sophomore Alison Cudnoski will be dressing for her first collegiate game as a Lady Raider. In her freshman year, Cudnoski tore her anterior cruciate ligament in the first practice and sat out that year. And then last year, she tore the same ACL in the second intrasquad scrimmage and missed the rest of the season.

Home Court Streak
Texas Tech enters the season with the third longest home-court winning streak in Division I women's basketball. Tech has won 30 straight home games. Leading the way is Grambling with 66 home victories followed by Kent with 31.

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 156 weeks. That includes this year's preseason poll by the USA Today/ESPN (13th) and last week's first regular-season AP poll (15th).

Sharp One of the Elite
Head coach Marsha Sharp's .76367 winning percentage ranks her eighth best in the country. Sharp has a 433-134 career record according to NCAA standards. The NCAA does not include forfeits in the overall record, which is 434-134. Sharp won a game by forfeit during the 1988-89 season against Baylor.

Strength of Schedule
According to the WBCA/Summerville Women's Basketball 2000-01 preseason strength of schedule rankings, Texas Tech ranks 29th overall, which includes all opponents for this season. The Lady Raiders rank 20th in non-conference opponents.

Follow the Lady Raiders on the Radio
All Lady Raider basketball games can be heard live on the All Sports Radio Network on KFYO-AM 790 and KKCL-FM 98.1 locally. Listen to play-by-play by Ryan Hyatt, with color comentary by Crystal Boles (home games) and Melissa Maines (road games) as they take the court with the Lady Raiders. The following radio stations will air the Lady Raider basketball games this season:

KPUR-AM-1440 - Amarillo
KVPR-FM-97.1 - Haskell
KPAN-AM/FM-860 - Hereford
KPET-AM-690 - Lamesa
KFOY-AM-790 - Lubbock
KKCL-FM-98.1 - Lubbock
KWND-AM-1510 - Midland
KKYN-AM-1090 - Plainview




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