No. 17 Lady Raiders Head To Big 12 Championships
April 25, 2013
TEXAS TECH EARNS NO. 2 SEED AT BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIPS
No. 17 Texas Tech earned a share of its second consecutive Big 12 Conference title and will enter the 2013 Big 12 Championships as the No. 2 seed, earning its second consecutive first round bye in the event.
It is only the third time in program history that the Lady Raiders have advanced to the quarterfinals on a bye. Texas Tech also advanced on a bye in 2006, when the Lady Raiders earned the No. 4 seed in the event. Texas Tech is 10-16 all-time in the Big 12 Championships.
But for Texas Tech to have any success in the event, it will have to break the glass ceiling - the semifinals. In the first 15 years of the Big 12 Championships, Texas Tech had played in the quarterfinals nine times, but never advanced to the semifinals. Last season, as the tournament's No. 1 seed, the Lady Raiders finally advanced to the semifinals, but fell short of reaching the finals with a 4-1 loss to Texas A&M.
If Texas Tech wants to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Championships at the McLeod Tennis Center in Lubbock, it must advance to the finals of the Big 12 Championships.
SIZING UP THE COMPETITION
Texas Tech will face the winner of No. 54 Kansas State and West Virginia on Friday at 3 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championships. Kansas State is the No. 7 seed and went 3-6 in the Big 12 and 9-10 overall this season. West Virginia was winless in league play (0-9) and 4-16 overall.
The Lady Raiders defeated Kansas State, 5-2, in Wamego, Kan., earlier this spring. Texas Tech is 12-11 all-time against Kansas State.
Texas Tech topped West Virginia, 6-1, in the only meeting between the two schools earlier this season.
If the Lady Raiders advance to the semifinals, they would either face No. 25 Texas or No. 32 Oklahoma State. Texas Tech defeated both schools earlier this season, with the win over the Longhorns being just the second in program history and the first-ever in Austin. Texas holds a 40-2 series advantage. The Lady Raiders have won four straight against Oklahoma State, but the Cowgirls lead the series, 11-9.
STARTING WITH DOUBLES
Texas Tech has one of the best doubles lineups around and it showed as all three doubles squads were named position championships in the Big 12 Conference on Tuesday.
The No. 1 tandem of Samantha Adams and Kenna Kilgo are 21-8 on the season and finished Big 12 play 7-2 and shared honors with Baylor's Ema Burgic and Victoria Kisialeva and Kansas State's Petra Niedermayerova and Karla Bonacic.
The No. 2 duo of Nikki Sanders and Rashmi Teltumbde had the best record of any doubles tandem in the league, finishing with a 7-1 Big 12 record to edge out Texas' Aeriel Ellis and Elizabeth Begley. Sanders and Teltumbde have a team-best 22-8 record this season.
The No. 3 team of Caroline Starck and Elizabeth Ullathorne were 7-2 at No. 3 doubles, edging out C.C. Sardinha and Maria Alvarez of Oklahoma State, who were 6-2 this season. Starck and Ullathorne were 18-7 as a tandem this year. This is the second straight year Ullathorne has won the No. 3 doubles title. She teamed with Teltumbde to win the honor last season.
In all, Texas Tech won 21 of 23 doubles points this season and won at least one doubles match in every match. The Lady Raiders also swept doubles 10 times this season.
CLOSING IN ON A CENTURY
Senior Caroline Starck is closing in on 100 career wins, which is something that has not been accomplished in the modern era of collegiate tennis.
In the early 1990s, the NCAA put limitations on the number of matches a student-athlete could compete in and has limited players from reaching 100 career wins.
Entering the Big 12 Championships, Starck has a career singles record of 95-38 (.714). She ranks seventh all-time in career victories, but has the most of any player over the last 25 years at Texas Tech.
Interestingly enough, she has secured victories at five of the six positions in the rotation during her four years on the South Plains.
Starck is also a two-time Big 12 position champion, winning No. 4 in 2012 and No. 6 in 2013.
FINDING A STACK OF 20s
Junior Nikki Sanders has a knack for winning and winning. In three years at Texas Tech she has produced three straight 20-win seasons, fortifying the 4-5-6 rotation of the lineup.
She was just named the 2013 Big 12 No. 5 position champion after a perfect 9-0 record in Big 12 play this season. Overall, she was 16-3 in dual matches and 23-5 for the season.
Against Baylor on Sunday, she won her 70th career match and now ranks 15th on the career wins list. But more impressively, her record is 70-19 (78.7 percent) and 24-4 (85.7 percent) in Big 12 play. Sanders has the second highest winning percentage in program history.
Sanders has been just as steady in doubles play, notching 67 career wins over three seasons and has won 71.3 percent of her doubles matches.
LADY RAIDERS MAKE HISTORY
When Texas Tech earned a share of its second straight Big 12 title, it became just the third school to win back-to-back titles, joining Texas and Baylor.
The Lady Raiders also joined Texas and Baylor as the only schools to have won multiple Big 12 regular season crowns.
Texas Tech is just the fifth school to win the Big 12 Conference Women's Tennis title, joining Baylor (8), Texas (8), Texas A&M (1) and Oklahoma State (1). Texas has won six outright, while Baylor has won six.
IN SEARCH OF 20
Only one time in the history of Texas Tech have the Lady Raiders won 20 matches in a single-season - 1987. That year, Texas Tech went 20-4 under the direction of Mickey Bowes.
Last season, Petty guided the Lady Raiders to an 19-6 mark and he led Texas Tech to an 18-8 mark in 2011, the best record since 1987.
This season, the Lady Raiders are 18-5. The 55 wins over the past three seasons are the most over a three-year period in program history. The previous best mark was 51 wins from 1985-87.
IN THE ITA RANKINGS
Samantha Adams climbed from No. 93 to No. 78 in this week's ITA Top 125 singles rankings.
Adams and Kilgo are 21-8 this season and are currently 7-8 against nationally-ranked doubles tandems. They are looking to make their second straight trip to the NCAA Individual Championships after qualifying last season.
Dynka and Hine are 4-1 on the season, but have not competed since September. The duo is 2-1 against ranked opponents.
A RECORD SEVEN EARN ACADEMIC ALL-BIG 12 HONORS
Texas Tech women's tennis set a new watermark for success off the court on Tuesday, as a school record seven players were named Academic All-Big 12.
The first team honorees are seniors Sandra Dynka, Caroline Starck and Elizabeth Ullathorne, juniors Samantha Adams and Rashmi Teltumbde and sophomore Kenna Kilgo. Junior Nikki Sanders was named to the second team.
This is Starck's third straight selection to the Academic All-Big 12 first team, while Ullathorne and Adams are each making their second appearance in the first team.
The seven honorees surpasses the previous high of five set in 2009, head coach Todd Petty first year at Texas Tech. The Lady Raiders tied the Big 12 record of seven honorees set by Oklahoma in 2003, when the Sooners had seven first team selections.
Texas Tech has now had 60 Academic All-Big 12 honorees since the Big 12 Conference was founded in 1996. There have been 20 honorees under the five years Petty has been head coach.
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