After a five year absence the Texas Tech women’s basketball team is returning to the NCAA Women’s Championship. The Lady Raiders will make their 19th appearance in the tournament and will open up the 2011 NCAA Women’s Championship as the 8 seed in the Spokane Region where they will face the 9th seeded St. Johns University in Stanford, California from the Maple Pavilion on Saturday March 19th with 3 p.m. tip-off time. The other first round game from Stanford will feature top seeded Stanford against the 16 seed UC Davis with a 5:30 start time.

The 68-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament gets under way tonight in Dayton with the First Four. UNC-Asheville will take on Arkansas-Little Rock followed by Alabama-Birmingham squaring off against Clemson. Coverage of those games begins this evening at 5:30 right here on Lubbock’s Sports Leader 1340 the Fan.

The Texas Tech Red Raider baseball team wrapped up the Texas Tech Invitational today with a 9 to 7 win over Texas A&M – Corpus Christi. The Red Raiders won four of their tournament games defeating Iowa twice, and taking 2 of 3 against the Islanders. The Red Raiders will have the next two days off before heading out on the road for this first time this season, with a three game weekend series against the Baylor Bears with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 on Friday.

The 5th ranked Lubbock Christian University softball team continued play in the Tucson Invitational today with three more games, after going 2 and 1 on Monday. The Lady Chaps kicked off their morning with a 14 to 4 victory over Mayville State, and followed that up with a 10 to 1 victory over Patten University. LCU will wrap up their day against the University of British Columbia with first pitch scheduled for 6 o’clock.

Staying with LCU, Lady Chap Shelbye Hill has been named the Sooner Athletic Conference Women’s Golfer of the Week for March 7th -13th. The Freshman Hill won the Mary Hardin-Baylor Spring Invitational with a two-round 154, and topped the 80-player field for her first career victory. This season marks the first time the SAC has awarded conference accolades for golfer of the week honors.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected its Freshman All-America Teams and three Big 12 standouts made the cut.  The University of Texas has two student-athletes on the list, with Tristan Thompson being named to the first team and Cory Joseph recognized on the second team.  Perry Jones III of Baylor was also a second team honoree.

In the NBA the Dallas Mavericks will visit the Trail Blazers tonight as part of a two-game West Coast road trip. Portland enters tonight’s contest with 37 and 29 record while Dallas come in sitting at 47 and 19. Tip-of between the Mavs and Trailblazers is scheduled for 9 o’clock from the Rose Garden.

In NHL news two of the teams vying for the title in the tightly-packed Pacific division square off tonight in Dallas, where the Stars can pull within two points of the San Jose Sharks, with a fifth win in the last six meetings against their division rivals. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30.

In Major League baseball news Texas Ranger’s pitcher Neftali Feliz’s newest goal is to earn a job in the starting rotation. That's a reversal from four days ago, when last season's American League Rookie of the Year said he'd be most comfortable returning to the closer role. The reason Feliz cited for changing his mind is the confidence he has developed in his cutter, a potentially dominant secondary pitch that will complement his four-seam fastball that occasionally hits three digits. 100 mph. The 22 year old Feliz set a major league rookie record for saves with 40 last season, when he had a 2.73 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings of work.

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