Five Thoughts on the 2022-23 Texas Tech Women’s Basketball Season
The Texas Tech Lady Raiders finished 20-15 in 2022-23 in Big 12 women’s basketball and here are five thoughts on the team and the future with the season concluded.
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 won 11 straight games, starting that streak by outlasting Colorado at home in overtime. It was Tech’s only game against a Power 6 team in non-conference. The rest of the victories were against mid- and low-major teams and had just one game decided by fewer than 10 points.
In Big 12 play the Lady Raiders lost three of their first four, but all three of those losses were to teams ranked in the Top 25. It did set a tone. The Lady Raiders won just six league games, and that probably kept them out of the NCAA Tournament. Texas Tech did beat Texas when the Longhorns were ranked No. 25 on Jan. 18, and beat West Virginia in double overtime on Feb. 22. But after a loss to Kansas State in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament, it was on to the Women’s NIT.
The Lady Raiders beat UTEP and SMU before losing to Arkansas. But, it was a big season for the Lady Raiders under third-year coach Krista Gerlich. Tech won at least 20 games and went to the postseason (NCAA or WNIT) for the first time since 2012-13.
After two years of health issues keeping her from playing a full season, Bre’Amber Scott had a great year, leading the Lady Raiders with 17.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. With the departure of Vivian Gray, the hope was that she could carry the scoring load and she did. But she had help.
Tech’s roster was unique. Gerlich played 13 different players in at least 27 games. With that balance, the Lady Raiders only had one other player that averaged double figures for the season, which was freshman guard Bailey Maupin, who averaged 10.2 points.
But three others averaged at least seven points — forward Bryn Gerlich (9.1), guard Jasmine Shavers (7.8) and guard Rhyle McKinney (7.8). Freshman center Jazmaine Lews (5.6 points, 3.1 rebounds) made an impact all season. Transfer guard Katie Ferrell (4.8 points) contributed after getting over and injury, while center Ellen Tofaeono, guard Kilah Freelon and guard Tatum Veitehimer all made contributions.
The Lady Raiders had five seniors on the roster — Tofaeono, Gerlich, Scott, Veitenheimer and Ferrell. They are all out of eligibility.
Who’s Staying and Who’s Coming In?
Assuming none of the holdovers hit the transfer portal, Tech can expect back Maupin, Shavers, McKinney, Lewis, Freelon, sophomore forward JoJo Nworie, sophomore guard Saga Ukkonen and sophomore guard Ashley Chevalier. That’s eight returning players.
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 at Monterey High School.
That’s 11 players. So there’s room for the Lady Raiders to attract a transfer or two or sign a prep player when the traditional signing period begins this month.
Coach Krista Gerlich is hoping this is the start of a return to the NCAA Tournament, a place the Lady Raiders haven’t been in more than a decade. To do that, she’ll need to develop the games of the players that could play big roles next season — Maupin, McKinney, Lewis and Shavers. Those four players could power the Lady Raiders on offense next season.
After that, it’s a summer of player development for those that played but didn’t play big roles. An impact transfer that can add some points would be a good get, too. And expect Johnson to play a role next season.
The next tangible step is a better record in Big 12 action. Six league wins won’t get the Lady Raiders where they want to go.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard