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Texas Tech Hopes Home Court Provides NCAA Tournament Edge
March 22, 2013
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By Wendell Barnhouse | wendell@big12sports.com
Big12Sports.com Correspondent

There has yet to be a "Sister Act 3" hit movie theaters (which is arguably a positive development). Texas Tech wants to make sure the inspiration for another sequel doesn't come from its NCAA Tournament first-round foe in the Spokane Region.

The seventh-seeded Lady Raiders (21-10) are taking on No. 10 seed South Florida Saturday at the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock. The Bulls (21-10) rely on the Smith sisters who combine to average 30 points per game.

Andrell and Andrea Smith are twin sisters and fifth-year seniors. Both had to miss seasons with knee injuries and that is allowing them to finish out their careers at the same time.

"They're a unique duo. I've read enough and been aware enough of what goes on across the country," Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry said. "So we're excited about that challenge, and hopefully our league prepared us a little bit."

Texas Tech, like the seven teams that made the NCAA Tournament from the Big 12, hopes that the 18-game grind in the nation's top Ratings Percentage Index conference has prepared it for the post-season.

"There's a tremendous amount of pride that goes into it," Curry said of earning an NCAA bid and hosting the opening round. "I think it's number nine for me, and quite a few more if you add those assistant years in there. So it's something that you wake up and you want to be about every day. We're just proud to have this program back. I'm happy for our seniors, our entire staff, everybody."

The Lady Raiders have four senior starters. One is Casey Morris, who started her career at Cal before transferring. If Texas Tech gets past South Florida, Morris could face her former team in the second round.

"It makes me want to compete more. We got to play them my first year when we transferred here, and we beat them in Las Vegas," Morris said. "We wanted to get them again and it just makes me want to compete even more, and I'm even more excited to play a team that's right next to my home and everyone knows that I went there my first year so I just wanted to play them more and more."

Texas Tech is making its 20th appearance in the NCAA Tournament seeking its first victory since 2005.

"There's a tremendous amount of pride that goes into it," Curry said of earning an NCAA bid and hosting the opening round. "I think it's number nine for me, and quite a few more if you add those assistant years in there. So it's something that you wake up and you want to be about every day. We're just proud to have this program back. I'm happy for our seniors, our entire staff, everybody."

Spokane Region
No. 7 Texas Tech (21-10) vs. No. 10 South Florida (21-10)
5:30 p.m., Saturday, Lubbock, Texas, ESPN2.

Coaches: Kristy Curry, Texas Tech; Jose Fernandez, South Florida.

Why they're here: Texas Tech was an at-large selection from the Big 12. South Florida was an at-large selection from the Big East Conference.

Scouting the Lady Raiders: Texas Tech has an experienced team with four senior starters. Guards Chynna Brown, Monique Smalls, Christine Hyde and Casey Morris are versatile players who are capable of scoring off the dribble or on perimeter jump shots. They also give Texas Tech solid defense. Junior forward Kelsi Baker is the top producer around the basket but she is capable of stepping out and hitting jumpers. Texas Tech is plus-5 in turnover margin but rebounding is not a strong suit.

Scouting the Bulls: South Florida ranks 42nd in the country in rebounding, out-boarding opponents by 5.6 per game. The Bulls might have a big edge on Texas Tech in that department. The Bulls have good depth up front and are adept at blocking shots but their offense is perimeter oriented and can be inconsistent. The Smith sisters – Andrell and Andrea – are guards who combine to average 30 points per game. South Florida likes to create offense with defensive pressure and averages forcing 20 turnovers per game.


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