Big Shots Lift @LATechWBB Past Marshall
Jan. 13, 2018
HUNTINGTON, W.V. – Louisiana Tech is developing a reputation for hitting big shots late in Conference USA games and for the third time in four contests, the Lady Techsters found a way to win late.
This time it was Kierra Anthony’s turn to be the late-game hero.
With Tech (12-5, 3-1 C-USA) leading 68-65 and the shot clock running down, Anthony banked home an off-balance, runner with exactly 60 seconds to play to push the advantage to two possessions and the Lady Techsters made stops on Marshall’s final few possessions in route to a 74-65 win at the Cam Henderson Center Saturday afternoon.
“I am so proud of the way our team handled a lot of adversity on this trip,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “We had travel issues yesterday and we didn’t get a chance for a practice or a shoot around today. I am proud of the players and I am proud of my staff. Everyone handled the situation extremely well. We overcame adversity and found a way to win on the road.”
Once again, the win didn’t come easy.
After a disappointing performance in a 15-point loss at Southern Miss two days earlier, the Lady Techsters came out of the gate faster in Huntington. After trailing 14-13 at the end of the first quarter, Tech put it into another gear in the second quarter, building as much as a 17-point lead.
Tech started the frame on a 15-0 run and back-to-back Taylor Stahly three-pointers midway through the quarter gave the Lady Techsters a 36-19 lead. Stahly finished with 14 points, hitting 4-of-6 three-pointers.
The home team wouldn’t go away quietly.
Behind a three-point barrage, the Thundering Herd (6-10, 0-3 C-USA) stormed back, cutting the deficit to 38-29 at the half. The comeback didn’t stop there. Marshall opened the third quarter strong, and used a 12-0 run to tie the game at 45-45 on a transition layup by Ekaterina Zhibareva with 4:56 to play in the stanza.
“The one thing I am disappointed in was how we started the second half,” said Stoehr. “We just didn’t come out with the energy and effort that we played with in the first half. We still haven’t played a complete game. In a way that’s an exciting thing because I think this team’s potential is high. We just have to learn how to do it for 40 minutes.”
Tech responded to the Marshal run, ending the quarter on a 13-5 run thanks to a pair of three-pointers by freshman guard Amber Dixon. Her freshman point guard teammate Raizel Guinto matched Dixon, connecting on a pair of three-pointers in the first half of play.
Leading 58-50 entering the fourth quarter, Tech pushed the lead back up to 65-52 after a layup by Alexus Malone with 6:06 to play in the game. Malone led Tech with 20 points, eight rebounds and a career-high six steals.
Marshall made one last run. The Thundering Herd scored 11 straight points during a two-minute stretch to close the gap to 65-63 on a pair of free throws by Shayna Gore with 3:50 to play. It set the stage for a pair of big shots.
On Tech’s ensuing possession, Stahly came through with a corner three-pointer as the shot clock expired off an assist from Anthony to push the lead to 68-63. Marshall added a field goal by Kristen Mayo to make it a one possession game, setting the stage for Anthony’s late heroics.
“We really need Kierra,” said Stoehr. “She has been struggling a little. I think she puts too much pressure on herself. She is a proven shooter and scorer and it was good to see her make some big shots. She hit one at the end of the third quarter and then the one late that gave us some cushion.”
Anthony ended the day with 14 points and six assists.
Gore led Marshall with 19 points while Talequia Hamilton added 14 points.
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