I remember the first senior class I saw as Voice of the Lady Raiders
like it was yesterday - Jordan Murphree, Ashlee Roberson, and Tamila Martin. The next season Tina Wickett carried the senior torch by herself. Next, it was Jordan Barncastle and Kierra Mallard. That's six seniors in 3 seasons.
The current version of the Lady Raiders almost has that many by itself with 5, and it's showing.
Previous teams had great seniors, but to have 5 on one team and provide what this group has makes it no coincidence this team has jumped out to a 4-2 start in Big 12 play.
Christine Hyde showed a lot in Saturday's 70-63 win over Kansas long before the game even started - working on her shot by herself two hours before tipoff. I saw her knock down shot after shot from various spots on the floor, then promptly nailed a couple of early shots in the game (including a three pointer) helping the Lady Raiders jump out to a first half double-digit lead.
I don't know if her teammates know she was out there shooting that early before the game by herself, but enough dedication like that will eventually rub off.
There also was Monique Smalls making Kansas guard Angel Goodrich virtually irrelevant for much of Saturday's game, and Mary Bokencamp, an annual member if the Big 12 All Academic team, brings her smarts to the basketball team at all times - on the floor and off.
So the grind of the Big 12 is well underway and the Lady Raiders find themselves in the top half of the league standings, and have knocked off two Top 25 teams along the way. Before long they could end up cracking the polls themselves. And it seems they have the maturity to handle the expectations if they do.
More than anything, looking forward to the possibility of a 5-2 start to conference play.