Lady Raiders freshmen garner praise in first action in Greece basketball exhibition

·3 min read
Kilah Freelon listens to instructions during the Texas Tech women's basketball team's practice session in the Dustin R. Womble Basketball Center on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.
Kilah Freelon listens to instructions during the Texas Tech women's basketball team's practice session in the Dustin R. Womble Basketball Center on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.

The opposition wasn't Big 12 Conference quality, but Texas Tech's true freshmen impressed in their debut Tuesday.

Bailey Maupin and Kilah Freelon drew praise from Lady Raiders basketball coach Krista Gerlich following an 80-41 win over Ana Liosia Select in an exhibition in Athens, Greece.

Gerlich, who enters her third season at Tech, said the team was consistent throughout the contest, which saw the Lady Raiders jump out to a 30-7 lead after the opening quarter.

She credited the upperclassmen, including Bryn Gerlich and "Big Kat" Katie Ferrell, with getting Tech started. Then the newcomers got to show their stuff.

"As far as our new kids, I thought both freshmen played extremely well," Krista Gerlich said. "I thought Bailey Maupin and Kilah Freelon both just came in and really showed their athleticism. They really give us a burst of energy because of their athleticism. They're really fast, they can jump, they're really smooth when they run.

More:Bailey Maupin poised to set example for West Texas hoopers, aid Lady Raiders to postseason

"I thought that they really played well, especially for freshmen."

Maupin, a 5-foot-10 guard, led Gruver to the Class 2A state championship in March. Freelon, a 6-1 guard/forward hybrid, is also months removed from winning a state title — a second consecutive — with Mullen High in Denver.

Coach Gerlich got a good look at her team against a group she described as having some players with Big-12 talent, but without much continuity. It is the first of three games in Greece, with Wednesday's matchup including some of the same top talent.

"It's not close at all to what we're going to see in the Big 12," Krista Gerlich said. "But I did think they had some individual players that could easily play in the Big 12. I think maybe our nonconference schedule, it might be a little bit more equitable to that in a couple of spots.

"We still have a long ways to go, and we still need to get a lot better. But it was a really good start for our team."

The freshmen aren't the only new faces around, with five transfers joining the roster in the offseason. Krista Gerlich said the Greece trip has helped bring the team closer together.

"This kind of trip is just huge for our chemistry," Krista Gerlich said, "Just for building those relationships that we need amongst our team and building that trust. They're creating a lot of valuable memories that they'll have for the rest of their lives. But they're also getting some early playing time in games that don't really matter. … It allows them to play a little bit freer and really figure out what one another can do.

"I'm so excited that this group is getting to experience this, for so many reasons, but it's going to help us down the line. It's definitely going to jumpstart us into the season, no doubt about that."

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Texas Tech women's basketball get first action in Greece exhibition