Big 12 Campus Correspondent
When Head Coach Kristy Curry took over at Texas Tech four years ago, she had very little to work with when it came to raw talent.
But one incoming freshman was an exception. She possessed a lot of the attributes coaches usually look for when it comes to finding players who have the winning drive, attitude and physical capabilities to lead winning teams.
Curry did not stop there. She added several other new faces from junior colleges and the high school level over the next three seasons to help Tech get back to the postseason.
What makes the team even more special is that three seniors - Jordan Murphree, Ashlee Roberson and Tilmila Martin - will be remembered as a large part of the big picture Curry and her staff are trying paint.
“They’ve really showed great leadership and I’m really proud of the three of them,” Curry said. “All three with degrees in hand. They’re just the apytomy of what a student-athlete should be about and they’ve shown tremendous character down the stretch with our team.”
“This group has really been a big part of what we are trying to do and have been through some tough times and we just want to finish this thing the right way,” Curry added.
Murphree was a McDonald’s All-American and highly recruited out of high school. She is the only four-year letterwinner in the 2010 class and the last recruit from former Tech head coach and legend Marsha Sharp. Who knew that Murphree would choose one coach but end up playing for the one who wanted her badly during the recruiting process.
Curry, who was coaching at Purdue at the time, said by the time she went after Murphree, her choice was already made.
“She had her mind made up that she was coming to Texas Tech,” Curry said. “So you could say we both came out winners in this situation.”
Murphree has been one of the standout players over the last three years, averaging 10.5 points for the Lady Raiders while developing more as a leader than anything else.
Much of that success came after Curry began bringing in players such as 2008 Newcomer of the Year Dominic Seals and Roberson. Roberson grew from an average role player to one of the most consistent Lady Raiders on the court this season for Tech.
She’s posted 11 double-doubles to help push Tech’s offense this season.
A lot of that began with the stellar rebounding performance against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., that has helped change this team.
“Its just been about their incredible effort,” Curry said. “You can’t teach that, you can’t coach it. It’s just about heart.”
Martin was brought to Tech to help develop a depleted backcourt that featured several upper classmen last season.
She quickly became a solid go-to player off the bench and is one of the more accurate shooters from the free-throw line, giving Curry another option with more maturity.
“They’ve done a great job of leading the way,” Curry said. “They’ve done a great job of being an impact with their production on the floor and there’s no way that we would love to finish this better than to finish it with a postseason title. Especially for those three, they do things the right way every day and it’s been fun to coach them.”