Big 12 Campus Correspondent
In the case of most athletes, having a strong support system is often a key aspect to success, but that support system is not always the same for each athlete. Some athletes find support through their coaches, teammates, friends, family or even fans.
In the case of sophomore Lady Raider, Casey Morris, who is almost 1,500 miles from her support system in Fairfield, Calif., she relies on anyone she can for encouragement and support, especially Lady Raider fans.
As a young athlete, Morris said she depended on her family as her support system. She and her older sister played basketball for their dad on his boy's team. She said it taught her mental and physical toughness that has contributed to her success today.
"My dad's always been pretty tough, but in a good way," Morris said. "I like that he's tough. It helped me learn a lot, from being able to take criticism to learning how to be physically tough and get stuff done and to not quit anything. I think that's one of the reasons I kept playing."
After helping her team claim a state title as a freshman in the 2004-05 season at Piedmont High School, Morris went on to lead her team to a 21-6 record and was named co-MVP of the Bay Shore Athletic League her senior year.
Considered by many as one of the top recruited guards in the state of California, Morris played her freshman year at the University of California.
After playing in all 34 games her freshman season, Morris decided to transfer and turned to Texas Tech.
Morris said TTU recruited her out of high school, but it took her a year to realize it was where she belonged.
"When I came to visit, I liked how the Lady Raiders were very family oriented, and the coaching staff seemed like they were trustworthy and loyal. I love the team here, so it all helped get me here."
Following the signing of Morris in 2009, Curry expressed that she would be a positive asset to the Lady Raider program.
"We are very excited to have Casey join our program," said Curry in the school's release announcing her signing. "She brings a wealth of skills at both guard positions and will have an immediate impact on our team in the 2010-11 season."
Morris said she anticipated the Big 12 to be a tough conference when she transferred, but sitting out a year has taught her a lot about the Lady Raider program, and how to be successful.
"I knew it was going to be a competitive conference, and as you can see, it is," Morris said. "Every game we've been down and had to come back up. What has helped is our team mentality in that we don't give up. I think that's what's been getting us through all these tough games."
After sitting out last year due to NCAA transfer rules, Morris has started all of her first 17 games as a Lady Raider this season. Morris has helped Tech start the season with a 16-1 overall record, going undefeated in the Big 12 in their first three games, and undefeated at home heading into Wednesday night's contest at Oklahoma.
Morris averages 9.4 points a game, only following teammates Kierra Mallard and Teena Wickett.
Morris said contributing to her success is her newfound support system in Lady Raider fans.
"I think that the fans are great, I think they make it such a homey environment. My parents can't come all the way from California all the time, but when they're there it's great. It's good to know I have someone here within the fans to be here to support me even when my parents aren't here."
Morris' older sister, Chanzy, currently plays basketball overseas in Iceland for the KR Reykjavik basketball team. She hopes to follow in her sister's footsteps with a professional career after college with hopes to work in a marketing department for a sports organization once her basketball career ends.