@LATechWBB Falls at FIU
Jan. 18, 2018
MIAMI, Fla. – Alexus Malone scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds but Louisiana Tech ran out of gas down the stretch, dropping a 57-54 decision to FIU Thursday early afternoon at Ocean Bank Convocation Center.
Tech (12-6, 3-2 C-USA) took as much as an 11-point lead in the third quarter and led 52-48 with 3:24 to play in the game before FIU ended the game on a 9-2 run to pull out the victory.
“The difference in this game was they got to the free throw line 24 times and we only made 7 of our 14 free throws,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “We won almost every statistical line but that one. We built the lead in the third quarter and then we quit defending. I don’t know if we were tired or what, but we didn’t stay in stance and we allowed (Pound) to score time after time.
“We didn’t defend well enough down the stretch and put them at the free throw line too many times instead of making them make shots. At the end of the day our focus as coaches and administrators has to be on the welfare of these students. We were put in a very difficult situation today and weren’t able to make enough plays to win the game.”
The Lady Techsters were forced to take the court after arriving at their hotel in Miami at 3 a.m., following a 16-hour travel day due to the winter weather in Atlanta. After a few hours of sleep, the Lady Techsters were tipping it off against an FIU team that had just snapped Rice’s nine-game winning streak in their last game.
Early on it appeared both teams were still asleep as Tech led 3-2 through five minutes of play with the two teams combining to hit just 2-of-15 from the field. FIU led 13-9 at the end of the first quarter. A three-pointer to start the second quarter by the Panthers upped the lead to 16-9 before the Lady Techsters started finding Malone inside.
Malone scored 11 of the next 15 points for Tech, including her first three-pointer of the year with 28 seconds to play in the first half that gave the Lady Techsters a 24-20 halftime lead. Tech ended the second quarter on an 8-0 run.
The momentum carried over to the third quarter – at least in the first few minutes. Kierra Lang and Kierra Anthony hit back-to-back three-pointers and Reauna Cleaver followed with a layup as Tech increased its lead to 32-21 just three minutes into the quarter.
However, the Techsters then took their foot of the gas. Defensive breakdowns allowed FIU to get hot; namely Kiandre’a Pound. The junior forward scored 12 straight points for the Golden Panthers (6-12, 3-2) and gave FIU a 33-32 advantage on a transition layup with 3:45 to play in the third. Pounded ended with 19 points and eight rebounds.
FIU led 36-35 heading into the fourth quarter. Over the final 10 minutes of play, FIU hit 5-of-7 field goals and 11-of-15 free throws to outscore Tech 21-19. The Lady Techsters connected on 7-of-18 shots in the fourth, 0-of-5 from the three-point line.
Following a pair of free throws by Kristian Hudson that gave FIU a 56-54 lead with 10 seconds to play, Tech called a timeout to advance the ball to the front court. On the ensuing inbounds play, Anthony misfired on a three-pointer and FIU corralled the rebound. Another foul sent Kayla Rogers to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining.
Rogers hit one of two and Tech called another timeout after Malone pulled down her 17th rebound of the game. Tech had one final chance to tie the game but Taylor Stahly’s contested three-pointer at the buzzer was wide left.
Tech shot just 33 percent (21-63) from the field, 23 percent (5-22) from the three-point line and 50 percent (7-of-14) from the free throw line. Tech outrebounded FIU 46-32, including a 16-2 advantage on the offensive glass.
In addition to Malone’s big day, Stahly and Anthony each added 11 points.
Tech returns to action Saturday at 6 p.m. when it faces Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton.
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