Lady Raiders welcomes fans to Sunday event
Women’s basketball season is less than three weeks away for Texas Tech, and Lady Raiders sophomore coach Krista Gerlich has many roles to fill by then.
Three-time honorable All-American Vivian Gray is back. The same goes for part-time starting goalkeeper Bryn Gerlich and young center Khadija Faye. Everyone started from the team that finished 10-15 and 5-13 in the Big 12 last season.
Eight stock market players Gerlich inherited after replacing Marlene Stollings were transferred, and in their place, six transfers and three freshmen.
So first question: Who makes the best case for being in the starting five for the Nov. 11 season opener against Southeast Louisiana?
“It’s a work in progress,” Gerlich said. “I think my biggest challenge is probably figuring out which combination will be the best and which can give us the best start. Some seniors certainly want to play a complex role in this area.”
Gray is a shoo-in, of course, and Gerlich sounded the same about Taylah Thomas, a 6-foot-1 senior who has spent the past four years in Arkansas. Lexy Hightower, who spent four years at West Texas A&M, and Tatum Veitenheimer, who spent three years in Oklahoma, lead the way in custody, with Bryn Gerlich, who averaged 5.0 points and 3.5 assists decisive last season while playing in 25 games and starting 11.
Bre’Amber Scott, who averaged 18.0 points per game last season at Arkansas-Little Rock, will be in conversation with the guard as soon as she gets over what Gerlich described as minor injuries.
“She’s not getting as many reps as we need her right now,” said Gerlich, “but she certainly has the athleticism and experience to be a lot on the pitch.”
During Thomas ‘four years in Arkansas, the Razorbacks’ average record was 20-13. The Mansfield graduate Timberview has started 60 games in the past two seasons, averaging 5.2 points and 6.3 rebounds.
The Lady Raiders are looking to move her from center to front.
Gerlich took Gray and Thomas to the Big 12 Media Days as Tech player representatives, and Thomas was the first player to be named by Gerlich when asked about the most impressive newcomers.
“Taylah Thomas has most definitely stepped up and is just a natural leader,” she said. “She’s playing with a little kick on the shoulder because she just wants to play her brand of basketball and play a real position for her. So she brings it everyday.”
After Chrislyn Carr left the program early last season, the Lady Raiders spent the rest of the year using players as playmakers who were more natural in other positions. They hope they have solved this problem by recruiting with the additions of Veitenheimer and Hightower.
Veitenheimer, a 5-8 junior from Windthorst, has played 80 games and started 46 in the past three years in Oklahoma.
Hightower, a 5-8 senior from Amarillo, played three seasons and has one in a red shirt while at West Texas A&M. She was twice Lone Star Conference Player of the Year and three times earned some level of recognition from Division II All-America.
“Tatum Veitenheimer is a real playmaker,” said Gerlich. “I would say Lexy Hightower is a real point guard, although she can really shoot it, so I feel like we’re probably going to play her a bit more 2 (shooting guard).
“Bryn isn’t a real playmaker, but she definitely knows where we need the basketball to be, and that has helped us right now.”
Other options include Rhyle McKinney, newly arrived after his freshman year at SMU, and true rookie Saga Ukkonen from Finland. McKinney played in four state championship games, winning three, during his high school career at Argyle. She averaged 8.0 points per game last year when SMU called off her season after six games.
Gerlich said McKinney “is probably more of a Guard 2”.
“So Tatum and Lexy probably have the green light in there,” she said, “but even Saga, one of our first years that we brought in to play the point position, is really on its way. to become a great combo guard. He’s a really smart player. “
Veitenheimer has averaged 3.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists over his three seasons with Oklahoma.
“She’s a really heady point guard – really, really smart and can really pass the ball,” said Gerlich. “She’s a great general on the floor, and she’s a bit out of her comfort zone right now, because she’s used to knowing exactly what to do and when to do it. So she needs to learn our system, but you can’t take away the fact that she’s just a natural basketball player. Her IQ elevates her above a lot of other players. “
The Lady Raiders are hosting a launch event at 1 p.m. Sunday at the United Supermarkets Arena to benefit fans. Admission is free, and in addition to seeing Lady Raiders training, free food and an autograph session are among the attractions.
“It’s an opportunity for our fans to come and interact with our players, not just watch them train,” said Gerlich. “They’re going to be able to interact with them. There’ll be a lot of autographs, they can watch us practice a bit and maybe play games with us, just get a good taste of what they’re going to do at. see this season.
“Most importantly, I really want the Lady Raider Nation to get to know our new daughters.”
What: Lady Raiders Whistleblower Event
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Or: United Supermarkets Arena
Admission: To free
Included: Training, free catering, signing sessions, children’s activities, subscription information