Lady Raiders spoke to the media on Friday previewing their meeting with USF…
Since Monday many of us have broke-down, dissected, analyzed and crunched the numbers to see how the Lady Raiders will win their first NCAA tournament game in nearly a decade when they take on South Florida to open the "Dance" Saturday at the United Spirit Arena. What we know is South Florida is very good at getting to the offensive glass (a big factor in their shooting the ball 269 times more than opponents). We also know they play Lady Raider-like tenacious defense that can cause even the best of ball protectors to cough the ball up more against the Bulls than other teams. So after taking a lot of their characteristics in mind, I thought about previous opponents with similar tendencies and three came immediately to mind - Lamar, Houston, and West Virginia. All three undersized (like South Florida), all athletic (like USF), and all liked shooting from the perimeter (yes, just like the Bulls). Well the good news is the Lady Raiders went 4-0 in those games, and here's a big reason why - free throws. Those three teams collectively got abused in the foul department and free throw shooting both. Here's the damage. In the four games against those three opponents that I say are similar to South Florida in style, the Lady Raiders shot 115 free throws and made 90. Here's the flip side. Those three teams in those four games went 44-64 from the stripe. In all of those games, the Lady Raiders faced smaller, athletic teams and Tech had a strategy that largely involved ball handlers getting physical underneath to get to the line. I can assure you that is part of the plan Saturday because teams like South Florida that use quickness and athleticism so well, also many times can't keep up with the physical style of play the Lady Raiders can dish out with the likes of Kelsi Baker, Christine Hyde and Chynna Brown just to name a few. So be there at 5:30, pack the house and make plenty of noise. For Tech students, admission is free. For Tech players, look for scoring opportunities to be free as well - as in free throws. If that happens enough we could likely reunite Monday and hopefully do it all over again. Wreck 'em!
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