Women's Basketball

Texas History: The Red Raiders, women's basketball and one heck of a rivalry

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Posted February 14th, 2018

Texas coach Jody Conradt reacts during a play against Texas Tech on Jan. 15, 1977. (Larry Murphy/ American-Statesman)

In 1995 and 1996, the Texas Tech-Texas women’s basketball games at the Frank Erwin Center combined for an attendance of more than 27,000 people.

The two games rank Nos. 1 and 2 on Texas’ all-time conference game attendance record list.

What people should know before the Longhorns (20-4, 11-2) play the Red Raiders (7-17, 1-12) play at 7 p.m. at the Erwin Center is that during the 1980s and for much of the 1990s, these two programs were the best in their conferences and best basketball programs in the state of Texas, men or women.

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PHOTOS: Texas-Texas Tech women’s basketball rivalry through the years

There are four college basketball programs from the state of Texas that have won Division I NCAA National titles: Texas Western’s men’s team in 1966, the Longhorns women’s team in 1986, the Red Raiders women’s team in 1993 and Baylor women in 2005 and 2012.

That’s it. Houston and Phi Slama Jama? Nope.

Kevin Durant? Nope.

Texas A&M? Ha. Nope.

Texas and Texas Tech owned the Southwestern Conference in the 1980s and 1990s, and now they’ll play for the 100th time.

Overall, Texas has owned the series with a 70-29 record. The first time the two teams played this year on Jan. 20, Texas won 90-39 in Lubbock, so it’s safe to say Texas is the heavy favorite to win the 100th meeting between the two programs.

Before that win, Texas’ largest defeat of the Red Raiders was 48 points in 1979. Texas even once lost by 44 points in this game, in 1995 in Lubbock. Texas is 33-7 at home against the Red Raiders overall.

Conradt vs. Sharp

Like all good college rivalries there are usually good coaches at the center. Texas had basketball hall of famer Jody Conradt on the sidelines. Tech had women’s basketball hall of famer Marsha Sharp on its sideline. The two coaches combined for a 1,472-496 record and 15 SWC titles.

Conradt defeated Texas Tech 69-58 on Jan. 22, 2003 to capture her 800th win.

There was also this:

Sharp retired as head coach in 2006 and five years later was named the associate athletic director for special projects at Texas Tech, a job she still holds today. The city of Lubbock named a street after her, Marsha Sharp Freeway.

PHOTOS FROM THE ARCHIVES: Basketball Hall of Famer Jody Conradt at Texas

As for the current coaches, Karen Aston and interim Red Raiders coach Shimmy Gray-Miller, there obviously isn’t much history. Gray-Miller took over for former coach Candi Whitaker, a Texas Tech guard from 2000-02, on Jan. 1 after the Red Raiders fired her mid-way through her fifth season. Gray-Miller is 0-1 so far against Texas.

Texas’ head coach Jody Conradt presents retiring Texas Tech head coach Marsha Sharp with a bouquet of roses prior to their Big 12 game at the Erwin Center on Feb. 2, 2006. (Ralph Barrera/ American-Statesman)

Outstanding performances

The best performance by a Longhorn in this matchup is by Ellen Bayer, who had one of the program’s four triple-doubles in a Jan. 2, 1990 matchup. She scored 12 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 12 shots. Texas won 81-46.

The best performance by a Red Raider was from one of the greatest women’s basketball players of all time, Sheryl Swoopes (an assistant on for the Red Raiders), who scored 53 points in a March 13, 1993 game to win the SWC Tournament title over the Longhorns 78-71.

Tech won the national title that season.

Twice this game went into overtime: Tech beat the Longhorns 91-85 in double overtime on Feb. 23, 2000 in the Erwin Center and on Jan. 13, 2002, when Texas won 87-83 at home.

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