The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake: February 25th

It’s your morning update to all things Texas Tech athletics.

Softball

Softball in Louisiana for Six Games.

The softball team will be in Louisiana for six games, taking on Louisiana-Lafayette and the LSU Invitational. ULL is #6 and LSU is #5, so this is a tough schedule:

In Adrian Gregory’s mind, “to be the best, you have to play the best.” The second-year head coach is putting that motto to the test this season as Texas Tech boasts one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country. This weekend, the Lady Raiders will take on a pair of top-10 opponents including a pair of games against No. 6 ULL and No. 5 LSU. Having already faced a league leading four ranked opponents, Texas Tech is the only school in the Big 12 with a win against a ranked team.

Golf

Soccer

2015 Highlight Video.

Track & Field

Lady Raider Basketball

Lady Raiders Start Strong, but Lose to Longhorns. The Lady Raiders had a terrific first quarter, but couldn’t keep pace and fell to the Longhorns, 76-55. Texas Tech led 23-16 after the first quarter, but then was completely blown out in the second quarter, 22-5. The Lady Raiders just have a tough time offensively putting the ball in the basket. Japreece Dean lead the team with 17 points for Texas Tech.

Baseball

Texas Tech Takes Down Sam Houston State. The Red Raiders beat Sam Houston State, 11-6. You can check out a break-down of the game in yesterday’s game thread.

Basketball

Congrats to Toddrick Gotcher and Justin Gray:

Texas Tech Wants to Raid NCAA Tournament. Sports On Earth’s David Ubben writes that Texas Tech and head coach Tubby Smith want to raid the NCAA Tournament:

The Red Raiders’ remarkably balanced roster boasts seven players who average between 8.6 and 10.9 points a game. The lack of star power has cast the spotlight on Smith, who could take his fifth program to the NCAA Tournament. No one thought he could do it in Lubbock this soon.

Last season, Texas Tech began league play 0-6 with two 20-point losses and another by 32. By season’s end, 13 of the Red Raiders’ final 17 losses came by at least 10 points.

So this year, even mired in an ugly stretch of losses, it wasn’t hard for Smith to see promise in his team. The Iowa State loss, crushing as it was, came by only seven points. Kansas? Ten. Baylor? Three. West Virginia? Four. Smith had already seen his team beat likely tournament-bound teams like Hawaii, Arkansas-Little Rock and Texas.

“We weren’t playing poorly, we just weren’t finishing games,” Smith said. “We gained a lot of valuable experience in those close losses, in tough losses. Eventually the ball started to drop for us, and we started getting stops at the proper time.”

Changing Trajectory. Herald-Leader’s John Clay writes that Tubby Smith is changing the trajectory of Texas Tech basketball:

Of course, Self is a friend of the former Kentucky coach. Nearly everyone in the profession is a friend of one of the more well-liked and genuine people in the sport. Just recently, Smith and his wife, Donna, were in Lexington to attend the funeral visitation for Van Florence, the former head of the Committee of 101 who also ran Smith’s charitable foundation. It was like old home week, with Smith catching up with friends from his UK days, a sight that would have had Florence grinning.

Smith can coach, too. He proved that at Tulsa, at Georgia, at UK (where he won a national title in 1998) and at Minnesota. Now he’s proving it at Lubbock, where Smith landed after his sudden firing at Minnesota after having taken the Golden Gophers to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Smith’s third appearance during his six-year tenure.

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