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Big shoes to fill (cont.)

Posted: Friday December 1, 2006 3:12PM; Updated: Friday December 1, 2006 4:03PM
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And they did. Curry and her staff, which includes her husband, Kelly, a Texas A&M graduate, changed Tech's offense and the Lady Raiders have picked up the pace.

"A lot of our offense is running," senior Alesha Robertson said. "We are constantly coming off screens, we're always doing something on offense. Our coaches really push us on going to the hole and being aggressive."

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Everyone seems to be getting in on the action. Robertson leads the team with 13.1 points a game, but she's one of four players scoring in double digits. Even Dabbs is back in the swing of things, averaging eight points. Her return to the lineup isn't the only addition that has paid off for the Lady Raiders.

One of Curry's first moves when she landed in Lubbock was to hire Bill Brock away from Baylor. Brock, who heads up Tech's recruiting, added to the Texas ties. So did assistant Shereka Wright. Before Wright was an All-America at Purdue, she was a high school standout at Copperas Cove High in central Texas.

Those moves have paid off already. Last month, the Lady Raiders hauled in a top-10 recruiting class, something they hadn't done in quite some time.

"I know that you're only as smart as the people you surround yourself with," Curry said. "It's not all about me. Bill's been a great fit for us."

And Curry, has been a great fit for the Lady Raiders.

"She's the best we could have," Robertson said. "She was perfect for the job. She brought a lot of enthusiasm and spunk to our team, and we all just connected with her."

Notes from around the nation

Filling in nicely: Curry isn't the only one following in the footsteps of a successful coach. Sharon Versyp, who replaced Curry, is faring rather well at Purdue. The Boilermakers are off to a 6-1 start with the lone loss coming on Thursday at Connecticut. ... North Carolina State is 2-1 under interim coach Stephanie Glance. She's filling in for head coach Kay Yow who has taken a leave of absence to undergo treatment for breast cancer.

On the defense: Georgia lost one of the nation's most prolific defensive players when Sherill Baker wrapped up her career last season. But the Bulldogs are still playing takeaway, snatching 10.7 steals a game. This time it's a freshman that's doing the bulk of the stealing. Ashley Houts is averaging 4.1 swipes through her first six games. Houts, who had 10 in Wednesday's win against Memphis, isn't far behind Baker's nation-leading average of 4.7 last season. Baker ended up setting the program's single-season record with 149. She smashed the career record with 426.

Worth watching: Sure, Tennessee always loads up its schedule with top matchups, but this weekend we'll finally get to see a few powerhouses mix it up. And, of course, the Lady Vols are involved. Tennessee travels to North Carolina on Sunday for a game that could be exhausting just to watch. Duke is going to get its toughest test since moving on without Monique Curry. The Blue Devils head to Rutgers on Monday.

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