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Whitaker Takes The Helm Of Lady Raider Program In 2013-14
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By Wendell Barnhouse | wendell@big12sports.com
Big12Sports.com Correspondent


Story line
Candi Whitaker hopes to be a bridge connecting the glory days of coach Marsha Sharp and a return to that success. Texas Tech won the national championship under Sharp in 1993. In 2000 and 2001, Whitaker was a point guard for Sharp-coached teams that reached the Sweet 16. When Kristi Curry left to take the Alabama job, Texas Tech hired Whitaker, who had spent the last season as associated head coach at Oklahoma State. Her rebuilding job starts immediately as the Lady Raiders have to replace all five starters from last season's team that reached the NCAA Tournament.

Coach: Candi Whitaker (77-93 in five seasons as coach at Missouri-Kansas City; 1st season at Texas Tech).
Last season: 21-11 overall, 11-1 in Big 12, tied 3rd.
NCAA Tournament: Lost in first round.

Top players
Junior guard Amber Battle; senior forward/center Shauntal Nobles; sophomore guard Minta Spears; senior center Haley Schneider; sophomore forward/center Kellyn Schneider; freshman guard Diamond Lockhart; freshman guard Jasmine Caston.

Coach Whitaker says
"I think when you can play in a program and come back it's a special thing. Obviously what Kliff Kingsbury has been able to do already …has been tremendous. I love that people are rallying behind him and excited about Texas Tech football, and I hope that it will be the same for women's basketball and the Lady Raiders. I just think there is a level of pride and support that comes from West Texas people."

Notable
Texas Tech senior forward Kelsi Baker would have been a returning starter for this year's team but she suffered an Achilles tendon injury in the off-season and is expected to sit out this season as a redshirt. Baker started 30 games and averaged 10.6 points and 5.6 rebounds last season. … With Baker's absence, this season's roster has a total of one start made last season (by junior guard Amber Battle). … Texas Tech will face Michigan in the Barclay's Center Women's Invitational in Brooklyn on Nov. 29 and then will meet either LSU or Rutgers on Nov. 30. … Candi Whitaker was 26 years old when she became head coach at Missouri-Kansas City.

Season opener
Nov. 10 vs. UT-Pan American

Top nonconference games
Nov. 17 vs. Arizona State
Nov. 29 vs. Michigan
Dec. 15 at Arizona

Conference opener
Jan. 2 vs. Oklahoma
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