Late Surge Lifts @LATechWBB to Win
Jan. 26, 2018
RUSTON, La. – Louisiana Tech hit some big shots late and the Lady Techsters knocked down free throws in a 13-0 game-ending run in defeating Old Dominion 59-45 before 2,229 fans Friday night at the Thomas Assembly Center.
With Tech (13-7, 4-3 C-USA) clinging to a 46-45 lead following the sixth three-pointer of the game by ODU freshman guard Victoria Morris with 3:54 to play, the Lady Techsters turned to a zone defense that stymied the Monarchs.
Following the jumper by Morris, Reauna “Sweets” Cleaver scored five of the next seven points as Tech pushed the advantage back out to three possessions. The Lady Techster defense held ODU (4-17, 2-3 C-USA) to 0-for-7 from the field in the final three minutes of play, forcing contested jumpers.
“The zone was big,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “It forced them to throw it to people that they didn’t want to throw it to. That’s what the zone does. You can really dictate who gets shots and who is taking the shots and where you are allowing the ball. I thought our guards did a really good job of not allowing the ball to get to the high post. If you can get the ball to the high post then it’s really hard to defend. I thought they did a great job of keeping the ball out of the high post. And we rebounded out of it too.”
In a game that saw Taylor Stahly score 17 points and Alexus Malone add 12 points and 10 rebounds, it was some of the role players for the Lady Techsters that made plays down the stretch in the win. Cleaver was one of those.
“We need someone to be able to step up and be able to get an easy shot, get to the free throw line or get an offensive rebound out of it,” said Stoehr. “She did. She hit a couple of big shots down the stretch. It’s good to see her have that confidence and have that smile about her. She spent a lot of time this week (at the free throw line) and really focus on being consistent. Sometimes it can be a mental thing and I think that is what it has been for her. I’m proud of her.”
Cleaver wasn’t the only one. Sophomore Anna McLeod helped Tech rally from a six-point third quarter deficit (ODU led 35-29 midway through the third quarter after another three-pointer by Morris) as her three-pointer from the top of the key as time expired in the third stanza gave the Lady Techsters a 41-37 lead through 30 minutes of play.
The game remained tight in the fourth quarter as Taylor Edwards’ layup with 6:07 to play cut the Tech lead down to 43-40. However, on the ensuing possession, Tech freshman guard Amber Dixon drained a three-pointer from the corner to push the advantage back to 46-40. Dixon added six assists and zero turnovers in 19 minutes.
“These kids can score the basketball,” said Stoehr. “I think that has been the frustrating thing for us as a staff, but it’s also been frustrating for them. They can’t get down on themselves when people aren’t guarding them. They have to take that as a challenge. I thought those kids hit some big shots for us. Anna’s three at the top of the key at the end of the third really gave us some momentum.”
Tech took a double digit lead in the second quarter as the Lady Techters held the Monarchs scoreless for more than six minutes. After leading 9-6 through the first quarter, Tech pushed its lead to 24-14 until Morris hit back-to-back three-pointers in the final 35 seconds of the frame to close the gap to 24-20 at the break.
ODU outscored Tech 15-5 to start the third quarter before the Lady Techsters rallied.
Stahly led Tech with 17 points, including a 3-for-3 performance from the three-point line, and Malone recorded her fifth double double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds despite being double and triple teamed most of the night.
Morris led ODU with 18 points on 6-of-17 from the three-point line while Odegua Oigbokie added 14 points and seven rebounds.
The Lady Techsters return to action Sunday when they host league leader WKU at 2 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center for Legends Day.
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