Lady Raiders take on Sooners to start Big 12 play in 2014 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lady Raiders take on Sooners to start Big 12 play in 2014

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

The Texas Tech women's basketball team returns to United Spirit Arena on Thursday for the first time in 2014 to open up Big 12 Conference play against No. 22 Oklahoma at 6:30 p.m.

The Lady Raiders (6-5) are playing their first game in 11 days, matching their longest layoff since the beginning of December for student finals. Tech lost its last contest, 58-57, to Abilene Christian on Dec. 22 after winning its two previous games the same weekend over Jacksonville and Florida Atlantic.

Thursday's game against the Sooners is the first of two home conference contests to start the new year. The Lady Raiders will also take on TCU on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Tech is looking to snap a five-game losing streak to Oklahoma, who has won 16 of the last 17 meetings.

"I think it could be huge for us to play well and show that we can compete," Texas Tech head coach Candi Whitaker said. "We have some talent and we have kids that will go to work and battle. But we need everyone playing at their bests and playing to their strengths."

Oklahoma (9-4) comes in ranked 22nd in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 25th in The Associated Press Poll this week. The Sooners picked up their ninth win by beating Samford, 66-35 on Dec. 29, after falling on the road to Marist, 76-69.

The biggest question will be whether or not the Sooners will have their leading scorer Aaryn Ellenberg (18.3 ppg) after she missed the game against Samford due to a concussion. Ellenberg is fourth in the Big 12 Conference in points and leads the league in threes made with 37.

Fans are also invited to stay after the game and meet players and coaches as the program brings back its "Run and Gun Club."

The Club allows fans to participate in Q&A sessions with players and coaches and get to know them better as well as hear from guest speakers and former players and coaches. There will also be an opportunity to win prizes in the Lady Raider Raffle. Thursday and Sunday will be the first opportunities for fans. Others will follow the games on Jan. 25 vs. Iowa State, Feb. 1 vs. Kansas, Feb. 25 vs. Oklahoma State and March 1 vs. Texas.

"We're really excited to bring back the Run and Gun Club," Whitaker said. "I think one of the things that makes this program so special is the connection between the fans and the players, and we want to provide that for the fans and we hope they stick around to get to know the team."

Tickets are still available at or by calling (806) 742-8324.

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