The Texas Tech women’s basketball team’s season is coming to an end, and with only three games left in the regular season, the Lady Raiders are looking ahead to postseason.
The Lady Raiders ended the 2017-18 season with an overall record of 7-23, finding themselves at the bottom of the Big 12. In April 2018, the Tech basketball program announced the hiring of new head coach, Marlene Stollings, according to Tech Athletics.
Stollings is known for having success in turning a program around, having done so with three NCAA programs prior to coming to Tech.
The Lady Raiders started the season under Stollings’ reign on fire, as they took down their first two opponents of the season — Jacksonville State, 71-58, and Louisiana-Monroe, 86-42, according to Tech Athletics.
After falling to their first opponent of the season — University of Idaho, 77-88 — the team turned it around and went on a three-game winning streak. Six games into the season, they were only two away from surpassing last season’s win record.
The Lady Raiders fell to their SEC opponent, Florida, during the SEC/Big 12 Challenge to add their second loss of the season to their record, 5-2. Once again, the Lady Raiders made their way back to Lubbock, readjusted and went on another winning streak.
Tech surpassed the seven wins it gathered in the 2017-18 season when it took down Texas Southern at home, 75-55, creating a record night for the Lady Raiders.
Junior guard Brittany Brewer said surpassing last year’s win mark is something that has added extra momentum when continuing into the season.
“I think it instills like even more hope than we already had,” Brewer said. “We’re really pumped, like, that is crazy to think that that already surpassed, and so I’m really excited for what conference brings.”
The Lady Raiders were working on every aspect of their game before heading to play in one of the best conferences in the women’s basketball, Stollings said.
“We are really progressing every aspect of the game, offense and defense, we’ve got to continually grow,” Stollings said before Big 12 play started. “We have one more prep game and it’s go time, so we’re going to continue to push them and continue to get ready for that level.”
Following the matchup with Texas Southern, Stollings became the first head coach in Lady Raider history to go 8-2 early in the season. Stollings credited her players for her success.
Getting a new coach is a big transition for student athletes, and the Lady Raiders took it well and it showed on the court, Stollings said.
“This is a fun part of it, because they get to see that it really does work, and we are able to put in the time and the effort and it results in wins,” Stollings said.
Stollings and the Lady Raiders went into Big 12 play with a 9-2 record, according to Tech Athletics. They fell to their first conference opponent, Oklahoma, 66-61, before being dominated by Baylor, 73-56.
The Lady Raiders picked up their first Big 12 win against the Kansas Jayhawks, 69-66. Despite a strong start to the season overall, Tech lost its footing and went on a seven-game losing streak.
During this span, Stollings preached intensity and consistency to her players. Tech was losing by only one or two possessions in majority of its games, and that resulted in the Lady Raiders losing momentum in the last few minutes, Stollings said.
“She preaches consistency a lot,” Carr said. “Just staying in the play and playing the fourth quarter and not letting our intensity get down but raising it to a higher level. So she preaches that a lot.”
Tech ended the drought by taking down the Oklahoma State Cowgirls during the Play4Kay game to secure its second Big 12 win of the season, surpassing last season’s conference record.
After falling to West Virginia, 75-72, the Lady Raiders went on to record their first Big 12 sweep in three years, according to Tech Athletics. They took down Kansas for the second time this season, 75-71, this time on the road in Lawrence, Kansas.
That victory added Tech’s third Big 12 win of the season to its record.
Stollings said she has continuously changed the way the Lady Raiders approach each game, and that has not stopped, even though they have secured two more conference wins than last year.
The Lady Raiders will continue Big 12 play and take on Iowa State at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, in the United Supermarkets Arena to complete the season series with the Cyclones.