This is going to be incredibly short and sweet this morning. Not a lot of news out there this morning, but there's more here than anywhere else.
LADY RAIDER BASKETBALL | Don't forget that the Lady Raiders have their first conference road game of the season as they travel to Missouri. Tip-off is at 4:00 pm on Saturday.
LAJ's David Just writes that F Keirra Mallard is moving up the list of career blocks, as she sits third all-time at Texas Tech with 188. This is pretty good stuff:
"It’s all about playing the next play," Tech coach Kristy Curry said. "And I guess that’s the most important thing that I saw (Wednesday) night. She’s just playing the next play with more maturity."
Mallard has faced a pair of low points during her four years at Tech from which to draw motivation.
Curry suspended Mallard for conduct detrimental to the team during her sophomore season after Tech lost its fifth game amid a six-game losing streak. Mallard was the team’s leading scorer at the time. She was reinstated later in the season.
Last year, Mallard gave an uneven effort against Texas A&M in a Feb. 5 home game, once again Tech’s fifth loss amid a six-game losing streak.
She played only three minutes in the second half, and Texas A&M coach Gary Blair — a Texas Tech alumnus — pulled her aside after the game.
"He just told me to put the team on my back," Mallard said. "You hear another coach say that and it makes you say: ‘OK, I really need to do this. People are looking up to me.’"
Kinda interesting, and very nice, that Blair would pull Mallard aside and give her that advice. Go read the whole thing. After seeing what coach Kristy Curry did after the Oklahoma St. game, which is that she asked that the band NOT play the Matador Song, but had requested that the band play the Oklahoma St. fight song (see more from KCBD's Brian Holland) maybe among conference foes, you want to win your games, but there is a camaraderie that doesn't seem quite as apparent with the men.
RED RAIDER BASKETBALL | The men tip-off at home against Baylor at 12:45 pm on Saturday. Baylor is sorta loaded and if you go, you'll see one of the top 5 talents in the country in Perry Jones, III. Could be a long day for our Red Raiders.
LAJ's Nick Kosmider writes that the team needs to be more mentally tough:
"We have to get after people on defense to really keep ourselves in games," Tech forward Robert Lewandowski said after Tech’s win over Southeastern Louisiana last week. "We are not going to go out there and score 100 points every night. We have some weapons, but sometimes it is going to be hard to use those weapons every night. Defense is really going to keep us in games."
Offense will likely be hard to come by on Saturday, when Tech opens the home portion of its Big 12 schedule against No. 4 Baylor (14-0), which has yielded 58.3 points per game, second fewest in the conference.
"We’ve got to be a lot tougher," Gillispie said.
I somewhat said this after the Oklahoma St. game and I've already written how important scoring is going to be in the Baylor preview. I think it's about transition points and opportunities for this team. Not necessarily fast-break points, but finding ways to get some easy buckets.
The Big 12 did a feature story on PF Jordan Tolbert and I think he's got his head right with ball and life:
"I feel pressure," said Tolbert. "But I have a good coach and I have good teammates. I am going to try to play as good as I can, hard as I can, and be the best teammate. This season I want to shock some people and beat some teams people think we wouldn't beat."
Tolbert plans to prepare himself after the work ethic of the biggest inspiration in his life, which happens to be his mother.
"She really motivates me," he said. "She's worked the hardest. Anything I want she will just work to get it done no matter what. I always know that she has my back so I just try to go out there and work like she does."
TEXAS TECH FOOTBALL | I can't read all of this because I don't have ESPN Insider (as you know, I refuse to pay for any subscription), but the title of the post says this:"Army All-Americans solid with Texas Tech". And the article references DT/OL Michael Starts and WR Dominique Wheeler, so maybe this gives some of you some solace. I did find one other bit while looking for stuff on Starts and he does play on his team's basketball team and had 10 points last week (look at the end of the article).