When asked, most athletes who have won multiple championships say that the first one was the most special. It was the culmination of years of hard work, pain, sweat, tears, film study, Gatorade, and getting chewed out by coaches. In those moments when the confetti is raining down, the trophy being raised, and the cheering from the fans an athlete realizes that all their hopes and aspirations as an athlete in that sport have been realized. Some athletes will go on to win more titles, but that euphoria felt in that first title, many times, will never happen again. It makes it even more special when the title was the first national championship, in major sports, in your college’s history. The championship is made even more incredible when 22 years after winning that title it is still the only national championship, in major sports, in your college’s history. This is the 1992-1993 Texas Tech NCAA Women’s Basketball Champions.
Led by future Hall of Fame coach, Marsha Sharp, and women basketball’s version of Michael Jordan, Sheryl Swoopes, and senior Krista Kirkland, the Lady Raiders headed into the 1992-1993 NCAA tournament with a 26-3 record, which was good enough to make the Lady Raiders the co-champions of the Southwest Conference regular season and the Southwest Conference Tournament Champions. When the NCAA bracket was released, the Lady Raiders had the #2 seed in the West Region. The #1 seed were the Stanford Cardinal women’s team, winners of the 1990 and 1992 NCAA tournaments.
Upon getting a bye in the first round, the Lady Raiders moved on with a 70-64 win over the 7 seed Washington Huskies. The Cardinal squad moved past Georgia win a 33 point beating to face the Colorado team, while the Lady Raiders would face the ladies from University of Southern California (USC) in the semi-finals. The Lady Raiders took care of business and won 87-67 over USC. However, the defending champion Stanford did not follow suit, being upset by Colorado 80-67. Colorado would prove to be no match for the Lady Raiders. Colorado succumbed to the Lady Raiders by 25 points in the West Region finals. The Lady Raiders were now part of the Final Four in Atlanta for the first time!
The 1992-1993 NCAA Women’s Final Four consisted of two #1 seeds; #1 from the East Region, Ohio State, and the #1 seed from the Midwest Region, Vanderbilt. The two #2 seeds joining them were #2 from the Mideast Region, Iowa taking on Ohio State, and the #2 Lady Raiders, taking on Vanderbilt. Ohio State eeked out an overtime win over Iowa 73-72. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt had nothing for Texas Tech. Tech was moving on to the NCAA championship game, by virtue of a 60-46 win.
The Championship game featured Texas Tech and Ohio State both looking for their first women’s basketball national championship. To say that Sheryl Swoopes simply took over this game would be like saying that Peyton Manning is just a good quarterback. SHE DOMINATED! By the end of the first half of the game, she had 23 points, and Tech had a 9-point lead going into half-time. However, Ohio State was there for a reason. They battled throughout the game, even briefly taking a lead. Sheryl Swoopes and her Lady Raider teammates were not to be denied. Sheryl poured in 24 more points, her total of 47 points was a title game record, and ended up winning 84-82 after Ohio State made multiple 3s at the end of the game to pull close. THE LADY RAIDERS DID IT! NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!!!
As expected, the Red Raiders all over celebrated with their team at the time! (What I would give to have been on Broadway that night) The party did not stop in the days and months preceding the win. I was am undergrad at Tech when the 20th anniversary celebration occurred. Throughout the season, highlights were played on the big screen at the USA. Each time the crowd would roar with excitement! Against Texas in February 2013, Tech threw a 20th anniversary reunion. In front of a crowded USA, the Red Raider fan watched the Lady Raiders beat the Texas. As great as that was, the best part of that game was when the 1992-1993 women’s team was introduced. Seeing, first-hand, what that team continues to mean to Texas Tech is a moment of my undergrad career I will never forget. Just like the 1992-1993 women’s team will never forget the time they lifted their school to it’s first national championship.
Where were you when the Lady Raiders won the national title? Were you in Atlanta? Watching in a dorm room, Broadway, or wherever some crowded area in Lubbock? Maybe just simply watching the game with family and friends? I’d love to hear your stories and experiences! GUNS UP!
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