Jan. 17, 2013
MOSCOW, Idaho -- Following a 19-hour trip to Moscow the day before, Louisiana Tech found itself trailing the Idaho Vandals by 20 points early in the second half of Thursday night's Western Athletic Conference contest at Cowan Spectrum.
It would have been hard to blame the Lady Techster players if they fold their tents ... but they didn't.
Instead head coach Teresa Weatherspoon's bunch dug deep and used a game-ending 37-8 run to record the second largest come-from-behind victory in the program's history as the Lady Techsters defeated Idaho 67-58.
"I am so proud of these kids," Weatherspoon said. "They have gone through a lot. They have hurt a lot. A lot has happened to them just this week. To go through the trip we had to go through to get here and to be down 20 ... these kids never gave up."
The win ranked as the second largest come-from-behind victory in program history, trailing only the 1988-89 squad that overcame a 21-point second half deficit at home to beat Old Dominion on Feb. 11, 1989.
Idaho, which entered the game on a two-game winning streak, led 36-27 at halftime and then opened the second half by hitting six of its first nine field goals. When Vandal guard Stacey Barr scored in transition with 16:17 to play in the game, the Vandals held what looked to be an insurmountable 50-30 advantage.
Weatherspoon called a timeout, gathered her troops, made a couple of substitutions and then watched as sophomore guard Courtney Hayes spearheaded a tenacious defensive effort the rest of the way.
"The key to our victory was the defense of Courtney Hayes," Weatherspoon said. "It was so contagious ... it went form one player to another. We didn't give them open looks. You cannot let a team like this get open. All 15 of their three's in first half were open shots. Our kids made the adjustments. Courtney Hayes was awesome defensively."
Offensively, Tech turned to some unsung heroes for scoring as Janay Borum scored a career-high 16 points and Jelena Vucinic added 12 points. Brittany Lewis, who was held scoreless in the first half, ended the game with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
"Jelena Vucinic had confidence in every shot she took," Weatherspoon said. "She believed in herself. She played with an amazing amount of confidence. Janay Borum conducted the show. She did a tremendous job of that. Tavasha Anderson came off the bench and set the tone in the painted area. Brittany Lewis had her most aggressive game in a Lady Techster uniform. I'm super proud of what all these kids did."
Down 20 Tech slowly started to chip away at the Idaho lead although the Vandals still held a 13-point advantage at 55-40 at the midway mark of the second half. However, a Hayes jumper at the 9:29 mark of the second half ignited a 17-0 run by the Lady Techsters.
When Lewis buried a three-pointer with 3:34 to play in the game, Tech had erased the Idaho lead and taken its own at 57-55. The Vandals would tie it up on a Jessica Graham layup with 3:05 to play before Vucinic hit an off-balance driving layup 30 seconds later as Tech reclaimed the advantage.
Tech ended the game on a 10-1 run as an Ali Forde free throw with exactly one minute to play was all Idaho could muster.
The Lady Techsters shot 42 percent (23-55) from the field for the game, including 7-of-18 from the three-point line and 14-of-24 from the free throw line. Idaho hit only 35 percent (21-60) of its field goals, including 9-of-25 three-pointers.
Tech outrebounded Idaho 42-34. The Lady Techsters are now 16-0 all-time against Idaho.
Tech returns to action Saturday when it faces WAC-leading Seattle at 9 p.m. CT.