Big 12 Campus Correspondent
For senior leader Casey Morris, balancing Lady Raider basketball and taking graduate classes has become easier with time.
Morris, now a graduate student from Fairfield, Calif., serves as a leader on the Texas Tech women's basketball team after transferring from the University of California, where she played in all 34 games as a freshman.
During her sophomore season at Tech, Morris started in all 33 games and earned All-Big 12 honorable mention. She was also successful during her junior season, where she was one of three players to score 20 or more points multiple times.
Morris scored in double figures 17 times during her junior season. She also led the team with 355 points, ranking second on the team in scoring average.
The shooting guard has continued her solid shooting this season as she is averaging 12.3 points per game while chipping in 34 steals on the defensive end, second-most in the Big 12 Conference through Christmas Day.
"The season has been good so far," said Morris, who is working towards her master's degree in sports communications. "We have nine wins, and the two games we lost were winnable. We just want to continue to get better."
Morris said balancing basketball and her graduate classes was difficult for her at first, but she is adjusting to the workload.
"At the beginning, it was hard because it's so time consuming," she said. "But I'm getting better and better at being able to balance time for both."
Head coach Kristy Curry said she is impressed with Morris's dedication to her studies and basketball.
"I think it says a lot about someone's dedication when you look at what Casey has done," Curry said. "She had to start all over after transferring because a lot of her credits didn't transfer to Tech, and yet she still managed to finish her degree and start on her master's before she was done playing."
In regards to this season, Morris said she thinks team chemistry has been important to their success, especially with Big 12 Conference play looming.
"We have a lot of maturity. We have five seniors who have been together for a long time, and we are continuing to grow," she said. "The younger people who have come in are really personable and want to get better and are willing to learn and listen."
With a current 9-2 record entering Sunday afternoon's contest with Houston, Morris said she thinks the team needs to work on executing plays in order to improve.
"I think the two losses that we have we just let slip away," she said. "We fought hard during the game we lost recently in Las Vegas, and we put forth a lot of effort. We just made small mistakes and if we limit those we can win and better prepare ourselves for the NCAA tournament."
Morris said she is excited for the remainder of the season, and she wants to make sure the Lady Raiders finish on a good note.
"I'm playing as hard as I can," she said. "It's my last year, and a lot of other seniors, too. We just want to do well and continue the legacy."
When Big 12 play begins, Curry said Tech will once again be looking for Morris' leadership, especially in such a challenging conference.
"Casey has improved each season with her outside shooting and her defense," Curry said. "It just shows how hard of a worker she is."
When her time on the court finally does come to a close, though, Morris said she will definitely miss the daily grind that is college basketball but plans to finish her master's degree by the summer of 2013.
"It will be hard when I stop playing," she said. "Losing the sport that I can compete at every day and not playing games or practicing anymore will be tough. It has been a part of my life for a long time."