The Lady Raiders need a post player. A true post player.
The Big 12 Conference is full of tremendously athletic, tall and talented centers and power forwards.
Kierra Mallard served the role for the Lady Raiders these past three months and last season, but with her suspension, Tech is in a quandary.
At 1-6 in the conference, this predicament is slightly less significant. That is, Tech's season is on the verge of being finished (and we're not quite at the halfway point yet), so being without a powerful post isn't as devastating as it would have been two, three or four weeks ago.
But what are the Lady Raiders going to do? Jordan Barncastle and Marissa Ashton will fill in as best they can, but there's no way they can fully compensate for a team's leading scorer.
I think assistant coach Kelly Curry was probably right when he told me that Tech wouldn't lose THAT much with one of them in the lineup in place of Mallard (something he said before Kristy Curry announced Saturday that Mallard was indefinitely suspended), in terms of defense, rebounding, etc.
But not in terms of scoring. You can't completely fill the void left by losing your leading scorer. Kansas is about to find that out, as well, with the season-ending injury to Danielle McCray.
So, without Mallard, can Tech remain competitive this season?
That's a fair question of a team that has been at best competitive this saeson. Before Mallard's suspension, Tech would have been barely regarded as a favorite against Kansas at home or Missouri on the road. If Mallard is out for the rest of the season, Tech may not win another game. The Lady Raiders might even miss out on an NIT invite...Yikes!
Writing these words frightens me as someone who expected better things from Tech this season. It looked like Curry might turn a corner in her Tech career this season, but instead took a step back.
I guess we'll find out in a couple minutes here, when Tech takes the floor against Texas at the Frank Erwin Center. We'll get a good idea of what the Lady Raiders are capable of without their leading scorer under the basket.