If you would have said that Texas Tech women’s basketball would be the last undefeated D1 basketball team in Texas, and one of the last undefeated women’s teams in the nation - I wouldn’t even have a response for you. Outlandish! Ridiculous! Yet here we are. Eleven teams up and eleven teams down for the Lady Raiders and they’re still sitting on that goose egg in the loss column.
Women’s basketball has had some turbulent seasons lately. The glory years of Marsha Sharp faded out and the athletic department tried to inject a pseudo-Sharp coach, Kristy Curry, and then a Sharp protege, Candace Whitaker. Neither to any sustainable avail. Now we land on Marlene Stollings; a coach that knows how to flip programs for the better and it hasn’t taken two season to show that.
A number of publications are starting to turn their attention towards the Lady Raiders, but not all of it is positive. In fact, the more Stollings wins the more doubtful “experts” become. It’s not all without it’s factual basis. Sure, Texas Tech is middle-of-the-pack for RPI. Their only Power Five opponent has been Ole Miss (84-48), and they narrowly escaped teams like San Diego and Houston Baptist. It’s easy for some to look at the Lady Raiders and say, “conference play will eat them alive,” especially after the 4-14 finish last season. Yet as we turn to conference play sitting at 11-0, let’s remind ourselves of why this season isn’t last season.
What we can all be positive about in the world of basketball is that you don’t luck your way to 11-0. The 36 point victory over Ole Miss was not only Texas Tech’s first victory in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, nor was it just Tech’s largest margin of victory over a Power Five opponent in 12 years, but it was the largest margin of victory ever in a women’s Big 12/SEC Challenge game. The team is currently top ten in both FG defense (32.2%) and defensive scoring (52 ppg) both ranking second in the conference behind Baylor. You heard that right, Texas Tech. The same team that was selected 9th overall in the Big 12 Preseason Poll (right above Kansas).
Texas Tech is L O A D E D with scorers that play both ways. Brittany Brewer, Chrislyn Carr, Lexi Gordon, and Sydney Goodson to name a few. The ability of this team to force a turnover and capture points in transition is lethal down the stretch. Stollings’ style-of-play and culture-building has, after one season, created a system that allowed each athlete to flourish. Moving the ball offensively. Rotating assignments defensively. It’s a lot of what we’ve come to appreciate from Chris Beard’s play, as well.
Now that non-conference has wrapped in its perfect bow, everybody will get a much better idea of the Lady Raiders on Friday when they play Iowa State. Will we see the team that struggled to win against a 4-7 Houston Baptist or the team that routed Ole Miss? Unless those eleven games were a fluke, Red Raider fans can rest in the reality that this year’s team will notch more than 4 conference wins.