LUBBOCK, Texas – The Candi Whitaker era in Texas Tech women’s basketball officially tips off at 4 p.m. Sunday when the Lady Raiders host Texas-Pan American at United Spirit Arena.
The game is also the first of six televised games by Texas Tech TV on FOX Sports Southwest.
Tech is coming off a home exhibition win over Angelo State on Monday, dominating the Belles, 73-51. Redshirt freshman Minta Spears hit 6 of 10 from behind the arc and led all scorers with 20 points in her first game back since tearing her ACL in the season opener last year at Arizona State.
“I love Minta’s range,” Whitaker said when asked about Spears. “It really opens up the floor for us. She has been given the green light and been told to never turn down a shot … She’s just been a tremendous leader as well for us on the floor.”
Junior Amber Battle also showed how her game has matured since last season and being able to grow into a starting role. Battle helped Tech explode in the second half of Monday’s matchup by scoring 12 points and 11 rebounds in the second half alone, giving her a total of 17 points and 12 boards in 23 minutes. She averaged just 13 minutes per game last season.
Whitaker said Battle and Spears will have to continue to step up for a team that is fairly inexperienced right now. Six Lady Raiders will make their home, regular season debuts on Sunday, including Spears.
“We just want to continue to see growth every time we step on the floor – whether it’s a practice or game,” Whitaker said. “We’ve got to execute better offensively and be better defensively.”
Tickets for the game are available. Fans can show their ticket stub from Saturday’s football game against Kansas State and receive a $5 ticket to the game. Call (806) 742-8324 or go to www.texastech.com/tickets.
TEXAS TECH HEAD COACHES IN DEBUT
Texas Tech head coach Candi Whitaker will be the sixth different woman to coach the Lady Raiders when the team tips off on Sunday. She will also be the fourth Texas Tech coach to make her debut on the date Nov. 10.
NAME DATE RESULT SCORE OPPONENT
SUSIE LYNCH 11/18/75 L 40-83 WESTERN TEXAS JC
GAY BENSON 11/10/77 W 85-67 ANGELO STATE
DONNA WICK 11/10/80 W 67-60 WEST TEXAS STATE
MARSHA SHARP 11/19/82 W 78-64 ABILENE CHRISTIAN
KRISTY CURRY 11/10/06 W 66-58 UTSA
CANDI WHITAKER 11/10/13 ? ?? TEXAS-PAN AMERICAN
Texas Tech is 27-10 all-time in season openers and 34-3 all-time in home openers. The Lady Raiders have not lost a season opener or home opener since 2005 against LSU (68-76).
DATE RESULT HOME RESULT (IF FIRST NOT AT HOME)
11-10-06 W, 66-58, Texas-San Antonio
11-9-07 W, 72-57, UCF W, 72-51, IPFW (11-13)
11-14-08 W, 90-55, Idaho
11-14-09 W, 91-52, Sam Houston State
11-12-10 W, 80-53, New Mexico W, 58-42, Samford (11-15)
11-6-11 W, 69-43, New Mexico
11-11-12 W, 61-49, Arizona State W, 61-41, Lipscomb (11-18)
Texas Tech enters the 2013-14 season with the second-youngest squad in the Big 12 Conference. The average age of the Lady Raiders is 19 years and 8 months - only one month older than Kansas State’s squad.
SPEARS PLAYS FIRST GAME BACK
Redshirt freshman Minta Spears made her first appearance for the Lady Raiders since tearing her ACL in the season opener last year at Arizona State. Spears was 6 of 10 from behind the arc to lead Texas Tech with 20 points in a 73-51 exhibition win over Angelo State.
NEW LOOK LADY RAIDERS
Texas Tech is not only debuting its new Under Armour uniforms but also a new starting lineup. Texas Tech will not have Monique Smalls in the lineup for the first time in four years. Smalls, Christine Hyde, Casey Morris and Chynna Brown all graduated last season after starting nearly every game for Texas Tech in 2012-13.
BAKER ON THE BENCH
Texas Tech will have to go without its only returning starter, Kelsi Baker, who tore her Achilles tendon in preseason workouts back in August. Baker started 31 of 32 games last season for Texas Tech and was the team’s returning leader in points (10.7 per game), rebounds (5.6 per game), and minutes played (823 total last season).
HOME SWEET HOME
Texas Tech continued its streak of finishing in the top 10 in the country for attendance for the 20th season. The Lady Raiders averaged 6,418 fans per home game last season, 8th nationally.
YEAR GAMES TOTAL ATTENDANCE AVERAGE
2012-13 18 (14-4) 115,517 6,418
2011-12 20 (14-6) 133,855 6,693
2010-11 17 (15-2) 119,731 7,043
2009-10 19 (14-5) 129,896 6,837
2008-09 18 (13-5) 154,367 8,576
2007-08 19 (13-6) 162,552 8,555
2006-07 14 (9-5) 149,351 10,668
2005-06 14 (11-3) 167,081 11,935
2004-05 16 (14-2) 201,621 12,601
2003-04 17 (16-1) 213,802 12,577