Greenwalt determined to shrug off inconsistency
Cisti Greenwalt led Clovis to back-to-back state titles in 1999-2000.
Cisti Greenwalt had a sophomore season at Texas Tech pockmarked by inconsistency, injury and adversity.
Stat-stuffer games such as a 21-point, 11-rebound effort against Southern Mississippi that also included five blocked shots would often be followed by games where her line in the box score seemed like a misprint — two points, one rebound, four minutes played.
Greenwalt, who helped Clovis win back-to-back state titles in 1999-2000, said she’s determined to stop the roller-coaster ride.
She knows it’s time to turn the potential that led Lady Raiders head coach Marsha Sharp to call her the “X-factor” the past two preseasons into production every night out, she said.
“This is the year I’ve got to show what I can do,” the 6-foot-5 Greenwalt said. “I think I learned a lot the last two years. A lot of it is just realizing I can play at this level, play in the Big 12, and then go out and do it all year.”
Sharp said confidence is at the root of her junior center’s consistency problems.
“There aren’t many 6-foot-5 players in the country with the skills she has, who run the floor as well as she does or has the variety of shots,” Sharp said. “What she needs is more consistency and not to lose focus on the floor.”
She said Greenwalt has a tendency to get frustrated when things are not going well on the floor and has trouble regaining her focus.
“She needs to stop worrying about things out of her control and just play through them,” Sharp said.
“I think we understand each other a lot better than before,” Sharp said in a phone interview this week. “Part of that is me talking to her more about situations out on the floor.”
The Lady Raiders return eight of their top nine top players from last year’s 29-6 team that reached the Elite Eight, including preseason all-conference guard Jia Perkins and sophomore point guard Erin Grant. Tech also added impressive freshmen Brooke Baughman of Canyon and Alesha Robertson of Plainview.
“This team is a lot more balanced,” Sharp said. “Erin Grant has really worked on her perimeter game and Jia Perkins is being asked to step up and be the go-to person. And the two freshman, they’re terrific scorers.”
Greenwalt, who averaged 7.2 points and 5.1 rebounds last season — both down from her freshman year — suffered three stress fractures in her back late last season, which hurt her mobility.
Literally adding insult to injury, Greenwalt became the target of hometown fans when the Lady Raiders played in the NCAA West Regional in Albuquerque, drawing boos every time she touched the ball because she chose Texas Tech over New Mexico.
“I was really impressed by how she handled a ridiculous situation,” Sharp said.
Greenwalt spent the summer traveling twice a week to Lubbock for rehab.
“The biggest thing was getting her healthy over the summer,” Sharp said.
Greenwalt is a big part of the Lady Raiders’ plans, the veteran Texas Tech coach said, especially at the defensive end where she uses her long reach and timing to swat away shots. She broke her own school record for blocked shots last season with 78.
“She can play a lot of minutes if she plays well at the defensive end,” Sharp said.