Spears Happy to be Back on Court|
Minta Spears is averaging 16 points per game and is hitting 92.3 percent from the free-throw line.
Nov. 19, 2013
By Travis Cram
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech guard Minta Spears had finally completed her one-year mission when she stepped on the court for Tech's exhibition game on Nov. 4 against Angelo State.
But she's only begun to scratch the surface of what's possible for her as a Lady Raider after three regular season games.
"There's a lot of preparation going in to this game but for me, its been this whole past year," Spears said after Tech's exhibition win over Angelo State. "Because the last time I got to play was this game last year. So I've just been working really hard and trying to prepare the same way for each game."
Spears is finding her groove after having to take a year off following an ACL tear in her right knee in Tech's season opener at Arizona State last season.
She scored a career-high 25 points in Sunday's loss to Arizona State. That topped her previous high from last week's win over New Mexico when she scored 16 and hit her first 3-pointer as a Lady Raider.
She's not only been one of the most consistent shooters for the Lady Raiders so far this season but also in the Big 12 Conference.
Spears is second among all freshmen in the Big 12 in scoring at 16 points per game and leads all freshmen in free throws made with 24.
But one of the more noticeable aspects of her game - other than her unorthodox shot - may be her leadership as a young player on a young and inexperienced team. Tech returned only seven players from last year's NCAA Tournament team and its only returning starter, Kelsi Baker, tore her Achilles in preseason workouts, sidelining her for the year.
"Minta is a natural leader," Tech head coach Candi Whitaker said. "She's someone who is extremely vocal in practice, and she understands the game well so she has the ability to help others that maybe don't understand things as well, maybe get to the right spot and understand timing."
The redshirt freshmen's range appears to have no boundaries at times. She hit two 3-pointers from four feet or more beyond the 3-point line in Tech's exhibition game against Angelo State and then went 4-for-11 in her last two games after struggling to find her outside shot in Tech's opener.
But she hasn't only relied on hitting threes to score. She's found ways to get inside and play aggressively as well as get to the free-throw line. And she's rarely missed when she gets there. Spears is 24 of 26 from the charity stripe (92.3 percent) and strung together a streak of 18 consecutive free throws made over three games.
"I always view free throws like I got to make them because at the end I always remember the ones I miss, especially if it's a close game," Spears said. "So that's how I approach free throws, and I just step up and knock them down."
Spears and the Lady Raiders will try to knock more shots and free throws down when they return to United Spirit Arena at 2 p.m., Saturday against Grambling State (1-2) before heading off to Brooklyn, N.Y., over Thanksgiving break for the Barclays Center Women's Invitational.