Recap of the Lady Raiders season.
Shortly after the Texas Tech women’s basketball team’s 71-70 loss to South Florida, senior guard Mary Bokenkamp stood outside the Lady Raider locker room and reflected what these past four years have been.
“We’ve come such a long way from my freshman year to now, and it’s been ups and downs,” Bokenkamp said. “I think we have kind of rebuilt a program and brought back a different attitude and culture to this team. I have the utmost faith — I think the eight kids left in that (locker) room, I think they will continue that along with the freshmen. They’ll teach them and just continue throughout the years.”
The five seniors — Bokenkamp, Monique Smalls, Casey Morris, Chynna Brown and Christine Hyde — spoke about leaving behind a legacy.
Tech, which finished 21-11, won 20-plus games each of the past three seasons as this group of seniors was the core of the team.
Like Bokenkamp said, there were plenty of ups and downs.
This past season, when Tech was picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 Conference, there were easily more highs than lows.
Tech’s five seniors rose to the occasion all year, and the Lady Raiders had only one truly bad loss (65-61 at New Mexico on Nov. 15), which they used as motivation through the rest of non-conference play.
The Lady Raiders swept rival Texas for the first time since the 2005-2006 season, one of five regular-season sweeps of Big 12 opponents. Tech showed marked improvement from the free-throw line from the season before (70.9 percent this year compared to 66.7 percent last year), and also saw the emergence of Chynna Brown as the team’s top player (13.8 points per game, first-team All-Big 12 selection).
After a 61-53 victory against Oklahoma State, the Lady Raiders improved to 21-7 overall, and they were in position to snag the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tourney and climb even higher in the NCAA Tournament seeding.
However, that’s when Tech went on the extended losing streak it had avoided all season.
That Feb. 27 win against the Cowgirls was the last time Tech won this season, as it ended the year with four straight losses.
The Lady Raiders couldn’t overcome poor shooting performances, and ended the season with a sub-40 percent percentage from the floor (39.7 percent).
Still, Tech coach Kristy Curry didn’t want to diminish what this team accomplished this year, even though Tech finished the season with the ultimate low of the year: a loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in United Spirit Arena.
“As hurt as we are right now and disappointed,” Curry said after the first-round loss to South Florida. “I certainly don’t want to take away from the year that these kids have had, and I’m very proud of them and I’m proud to be their coach and I’m proud the way they represent the Double-T.”