Texas Tech Basketball: Lady Raiders headed to Women’s NIT

The Texas Tech Lady Raiders will be dancing this March. The team earned a bid for the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (NIT), making this their first postseason appearance since the 2012-13 season. The 64-team bracket was revealed on Sunday and Texas Tech will be hosting their first round matchup at the United Supermarkets Arena against the UTEP Miners on Thursday.

For head coach Krista Gerlich, this is the season she has been waiting for. After the fallout from the Marlene Stollings era, the program desperately needed new life. Gerlich’s first two seasons only saw 10 and 11 wins, though, finishing 7th and 8th in the Big 12 respectively.

This season, the Lady Raiders started really hot out of the gate.  Texas Tech won 12 of their first 13 games, quickly putting the rest of the conference on notice. Unfortunately, the Lady Raiders once again struggled early in Big 12 play losing three of their first five. contests. All were losses to ranked opponents, though. The season soon hit a turning point though against No. 25 Texas as Bre’Amber Scott scored 31 points in a 68-64 upset. It marked the third straight year Tech has beaten Texas during the regular season.

Unfortunately, the rest of the season proved to be a struggle. The Lady Raiders only won three games during the rest of conference play. Still, regular-season sweeps over Kansas State and TCU and a one-point win against West Virginia in double overtime gave Tech 18 wins for the year, their most since the 2019-20 season.

The Lady Raiders have been led all season by guard Bre’Amber Scott. Scott began her career at Mississippi State and during her two years there, helped lead the Bulldogs to a 70-5 record. After transferring to Little Rock, Scott then moved on to Tech. Her junior season as a Red Raider was filled with injuries, but she has emerged as a team leader this year. The senior is averaging a team-leading 17 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game.

The UTEP Lady Miners had a strong regular season of their own. The Miners went 20-11 overall and 12-8 in Conference-USA play. UTEP has four players averaging double-digits in points per game, led by Mahri Petree. The Miner’s biggest win came against conference-leading Middle Tennessee State back in early February 65-62. With a well-rounded starting five, this matchup will be one of the Lady Raiders’ biggest tests this year.

While the NIT Tournament for men’s and women’s basketball is not the most desirable reward at end of a season, this is a wonderful opportunity for Gerlich and the program to continue to build. Gerlich came to Tech having the experience of winning a national championship as a player on Marsha Sharp’s 1993 team. Her experience with that team showed her what it takes to win. The fact that in just her third season the program has steadily improved and has an opportunity to play in the postseason is a huge accomplishment.

If this bid for the NIT turns into a solid postseason run, recruits and coaches around the country will start to take notice of what Gerlich is building here in Lubbock.