I’m Not Worried About the Lady Raiders But There is Still a Long Road Ahead
The Lady Raiders got their first bit of good news this offseason when senior Vivian Gray tweeted that she would return to the Red Raiders for one final ride. Gray was Texas Tech's best player in Krista Gerlich's first season as the Lady Raiders head coach.
A program that's seen so much turnover over the last decade or so seemingly had self-corrected by hiring the coach who had her uniform hung in the rafters, but a midseason transfer and five transfers out in the last week have proven that the Lady Raiders are still on a shaky foundation.
That's not to say Gerlich wasn't the right hire. The toxic nature of the program under Marlene Stollings was widely reported and the only reason that Gerlich had a job offer to take in the first place.
Seniors Jo'Nah Johnson and Lexi Gordon, Sophomore Alexis Tucker and freshmen Khyla Wade-Warren and Daja Powell all entered the transfer portal in the past week. I believe all recruited by Stollings staff.
Regardless, that leaves just six returners on the roster for 2021-22 and potentially Maka Jackson who is another Senior with an opportunity to return. Jackson had cracked the starting lineup by the end of the season and was a major contributor down the stretch.
In fact, even with the five transfers out, the Red Raiders return four of their five starters down the stretch last season is Jackson returns. Lexi Gordon the only transfer out that started consistently late in the season last year.
I'm not trying to undermine the talent of the girls leaving the roster, but a team that finished in the back third of the Big 12 conference needed a talent upgrade anyways and being forced into finding major contributors fast. The Lady Raiders have three freshmen already signed in Gerlich's first class, but I would expect the second-year coach to try and emulate her counterpart in the men's basketball program and try to find some veteran help to fill the roster.
The Vivian Gray return is a much better indicator that Gerlich is on the right track than the five players that left the program are that the Lady Raiders are still on shaky ground. I'm not inside the program, but I'm fairly confident that the subtractions on this team won't be as stark as the additions that Gerlich is able to bring to Lubbock.
Success might take a few more years, but Gerlich's overall direction will be much more obvious on the program by this time next year.
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