Texas Tech Opens New Arena Against LSU|
Nov. 19, 1999
LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas Tech looks to continue their home-court dominance under a new roof against Louisiana State.
The 23rd-ranked Red Raiders open the new United Spirit Arena against No. 14 LSU in the first round of the Four in the Fall Classic.
Texas Tech finished 30-4 last season and made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Coach Marsha Sharp's team went 14-2 in winning the Big 12 championship and finished 14-0 at home last season.
However, three of last year's big guns, including 20-point scorer Angie Braziel, graduated, leaving a big gap for Sharp to fill.
Braziel's departure, along with the graduation of guard Rene Hanebutt, who averaged 14.6 points and 4.3 rebounds, and valuable bench player Julie Lake, means Sharp must put a lot of faith in returning seniors Melinda Schmucker, Keitha Dickerson and Aleah Johnson.
Schmucker, a guard, will look to add to her 5.5 assist average from a year ago and the 6-foot Dickerson, who averaged 8.9 points and 7.7 rebound last year, will be relied on as the Raiders' force down low.
Sharp also has five freshmen on the roster, meaning the rebuilding process is already underway.
LSU, also a Sweet 16 participant last season, finished the year 22-8 with a school-record 10 SEC wins. Coach Sue Gunter is excited about the upcoming season, especially since her team gets a stiff test right off the bat.
"Texas Tech has an outstanding program," Gunter said. "They've won a national championship, they have great fan support and they have a very talented team this year. It's a great way to open the season, playing in their new arena in front of a packed house and on national television. It should be a heckuva game."
Last year, All-American Latasha Dorsey was the catalyst on offense. This year, senior forward Katrina Hibbert could be the go-to player. Hibbert, who has earned first team all-SEC honors the last two seasons, enters the year as the 10th leading scorer in school history, with 1,241 points.
"Last year, (Latasha) Dorsey made so many things happen, " Gunter said. "She ignited us on the offensive end with her play on defense. Katrina is one of the premier players in the SEC and she just makes everyone around her better. This is her senior season and we are counting on Katrina to lead the way for us."
Joining Hibbert in the starting lineup will be 5-11 sophomore forward DeTrina White. White led the SEC in double-doubles with 12 and in field goal percentage (62.1 pct.) and she ranked second in rebounds with 8.2 per game.
Other returning starters for the Lady Tigers include 5-11 junior forward
April Brown and 5-9 junior guard Marie Ferdinand. Brown is LSU's defensive
presence, while Ferdinand should provide solid shooting from the perimeter.