Winning an elusive national championship is why college basketball coaches coach and players play.
It can be the pinnacle of a career or a brutal absence on a college resume.
There is no need to explain the process of winning the title to Texas Tech women’s basketball coach Marsha Sharp.
She knows what must be done. Sharp was a champion.
The Red Raiders won the 1993 championship in Atlanta, defeating Ohio State 84-82.
“I think the greatest moment I felt throughout that whole thing, all most, was the anticipation of taking that team to Atlanta to the Final Four,” Sharp said.
The hard part is finding a way to win again.
“It’s something that, every single day I’ve come to work since then, I’ve wanted to repeat,” Sharp said.
Sharp said the experience was hectic because of all the media attention surrounding the team and one player in particular.
“Not only were we at the Final Four, and that was the first time any of us had done that as a group,”Sharp said, “but also the fact we had with us, at that moment, the biggest story in women’s basketball in (Sheryl) Swoopes.”
Swoopes, a 6-foot forward, set an NCAA championship game record with 47 points.
During the season Swoopes averaged 28.1 points and was the unanimous National Player of the Year.
“The night we won the regional in Missoula, I think you just have so many thoughts going through your mind about how terrific that experience is going to be,” Sharp said, “and how excited you are for those players, and what you’re going to be able to share together that next week.”
Sharp added that she did not appreciate the event fully until months later after reflecting on the journey moment by moment.
“(It’s) a feeling you can’t really get in any other way professionally,” Sharp said. “I think it’s just something you hope everybody gets to experience at least once in their life.”
For the No. 13 Red Raiders, there is no more Swoopes, but Texas Tech will look to Chesley Dabbs, Erin Grant and Alesha Robertson for guidance against Missouri tonight at 7 in Lubbock.
The Red Raiders are coming offa 55-53 loss to No. 20 Kansas State on Saturday, their first conference loss.
Dabbs and Robertson lead Texas Tech in scoring. The duo is averaging 32.5 points in conference play. It’s Grant’s job to put the ball in their hands.
Grant, a 5-foot-8 guard, is leading the Big 12 in assists with 6.63 per game.
Last season, Texas Tech’s Cisti Greenwalt exited Missouri in an unpleasant situation. She fractured her right ankle at Missouri on Feb. 17.
Greenwalt, a 6-foot-5 center, is healed and averaging close to a double-double in her final season with 13 points and 9.5 rebounds.