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Lady Raiders keep fighting spirit up

Posted: February 14, 2014 - 10:08pm  |  Updated: February 15, 2014 - 1:19am
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Still searching for a win in Big 12 play, Texas Tech women’s basketball hasn’t given up.

Instead of sulking through the remainder of the season, Tech is choosing to fight.

As the second youngest team in the conference, Texas Tech isn’t using its age as an excuse but merely a learning tool in how to compete in Division-I ball.

“It’s frustrating when you aren’t seeing success in the win column,” head coach Candi Whitaker said. “We’re just trying to keep them focused on what they’re doing and being in the present moment of getting better.”

In all but one matchup where the Lady Raiders faced a conference foe for the second time, the margin of victory was smaller than the first.

Twice, against Kansas and Iowa State in overtime, the final deficit was less than 10.

“I think what the coaches have really been preaching and what we’ve been focusing on is going hard, going full speed and knowing what we’re going to do,” freshman guard Minta Spears said. “If we do that, then everything else will just take care of itself.”

This afternoon, the Lady Raiders travel to Manhattan, Kan. to face Kansas State for the second time this season.

“It’s going to be tough,” Whitaker said. “They’re really good at home. They’re shooting the ball and playing with a lot of confidence and have great home wins this year in the Big 12. We’ll have our hands full. We need to do a great job of guarding them. We can fix a lot of things that went wrong at our place to be better up there.”

In Texas Tech’s first game against the Wildcats in January, junior guard Amber Battle led the way with a career-high 32 points.

Battle remains the team’s leading scorer, averaging 17.1 points in Big 12 play.

Since then, a handful of Lady Raiders have stepped up to fill the No. 2 scorer position.

Most recently, freshman guard Jasmine Caston led Tech against Baylor with a career-high 19 points.

“I told Jas after the game that I thought she played fearless,” Whitaker said. “She was ready to make plays and she stepped up and did that for her team. She was moving well defensively and battling on the rebound with two hands and did a great job.”

Spears and freshman guard Ivonne CookTaylor have also stepped up offensively for Texas Tech.

CookTaylor is letting her step-back jumper speak for itself while Spears, known for her perimeter shooting, is working on taking the ball to the hoop.

“Minta’s very skilled and can go either direction,” Whitaker said. “She uses her left hand well, but I think she’s so improved on putting the ball on the floor. She’s being aggressive finding other ways to score other than shooting threes.”

krista.pirtle@lubbockonline.com

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Side by side

Tech KSU

59.8 Scoring 63.2

69.3 Opponent Scoring 68.6

37.1 Field Goal Pct. 38.4

27.6 3-Point Pct. 28.7

72.6 Free Throw Pct. 68.9

35.8 Rebounds 36.4

10.6 Assists 13.3

16.3 Turnovers 18.1

6.0 Steals 7.3

3.5 Blocks 3.0

College basketball

Who: Texas Tech at Kansas State

When: 2 p.m. today

Where: Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, Kan.

Records: Tech 6-18 overall, 0-13 in Big 12; KSU 9-14 overall, 3-9 in Big 12

Last Meeting: KSU 72, Tech 65 on Jan. 14, 2014

TV: FOX College Sports Pacific

Radio: 97.3 FM

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