The Texas Tech Lady Raiders are 12-1 after playing its pre-Big 12 schedule and are now preparing for its conference opener against Iowa State on Dec. 31.
With that, we have five thoughts about the Lady Raiders at the break.
At the Moment
Texas Tech won its season opener against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, then lost its next game to Jackson State. After that? The Lady Raiders have won 11 straight games, starting with outlasting Colorado at home in overtime. That represents Tech’s signature win, its only game against a Power 6 team.
Since the Colorado game, the Lady Raiders have played a steady diet of mid- and low-major teams and have had just one game decided by fewer than 10 points (vs. Middle Tennessee, 72-67). That game happened to be at the much-maligned Las Vegas Invitational, which ended up shining further light on the inequities between men’s and women’s invitational tournaments.
With the departure of last season’s leading scorer, Vivian Gray, it was fair to ask where the Lady Raiders were going to get their offense. Turns out, much of it was already on the roster.
The Lady Raiders’ top two scorers are holdovers — guard Rhyle McKinney (12.3 points) and guard Bre’Amber Scott (12.3 points). Scott missed most of last season due to injury, so her health is paramount to the team’s success. The other top scorer is freshman Bailey Maupin (11.9 points), the Gruver, Texas, recruit who has been a Big 12 Freshman of the Week pick twice.
Head coach Krista Gerlich has spread out the playing time to build depth, with 10 players averaging at least 10 minutes per game. Center Jazmaine Lewis, guard Jasmine Shavers, and guard Bryn Gerlich are all averaging at least seven points per game. Scott leads the team with 6.1 rebounds per game. Gerlich leads with 3.5 assists. Katie Ferrell, a guard who transferred from UT Arlington to play for her former coach has made an impact in just six games with 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
The Recruiting Class
Texas Tech signed three players in the early period, including a Top 100 ESPN recruit in guard Loghan Johnson out of Houston (Texas) Christian. The Lady Raiders also signed 6-foot-7 center Achol Magot out of Southern Arizona Volunteer Prep in Tucson, Ariz., and a local product in 6-foot-1 center Kelly Mora, who plays a Lubbock Monterey High School.
The Lady Raiders have five seniors on the roster, not accounting for COVID waivers. There could be room for one more in the traditional signing period in April.
Rebounding might be the area of concern. Texas Tech is eighth in the Big 12 in combined team rebounding with 37.5 per game. That puts them in the middle of the road in both offensive and defensive rebounding, and the Lady Raiders’ 6.8 rebounding margin puts them sixth in the league. The Lady Raiders need a bit more volume in that department, though it should be noted that no Big 12 team is doing a better job of combined opponent rebounding than the Lady Raiders, allowing 30.6 per game.
The Big Stretch
How the Lady Raiders start the Big 12 season will be key to their goal of reaching the postseason. Their first six games include three ranked teams, and two that could be ranked by the time they play — vs. Iowa State, at Kansas, at TCU, vs. Oklahoma, at Kansas State, and vs. Texas.
Last year the Lady Raiders won two of their first five games, and it was a tone-setter, as they won just two more league games. The Lady Raiders want to turn that around this season.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard