Techsters Cruise Over Hawaii, 90-53
Feb. 2, 2008
RUSTON - Jo Sneed led five players in double figures as Louisiana Tech dismantled Hawaii 90-53 before 1,634 fans at the Thomas Assembly Center Saturday night.
Sneed hit 10-of-14 field goals in 29 minutes to tie her career high with 20 points and registered her WAC-leading 14th double double with 10 rebounds in the victory. The Belle Glade, Fla., native scored 16 of her points in a first half that saw the Lady Techsters shot 60 percent from the field on their way to a 51-24 halftime lead.
"I was really proud of this team," said Tech head coach Chris Long. "I've known for three weeks that we are getting better and better. It's fun to go out there and get after it defensively, and then offensively we are starting to execute and understand what teams are doing against us. We worked rally hard this week, and I felt good about the preparation."
Tech (10-10, 4-3 WAC) scored the first six points of the game before Hawaii got on the board with a Tanya Smith shot at the 18:54 mark of the opening period. However, Sneed scored eight points to trigger a 13-0 run over the next five minutes to build a 19-2 advantage.
As good as Sneed was offensively, Long said it might have been her defense against Smith that was the key to the win. Smith, who entered the game averaging 13.2 points and 12.2 rebounds a game, finished the evening with only six points and six rebounds in 24 minutes of action.
"Jo had a personal match-up with Tanya Smith tonight, who was second leading rebounder in the country," Long said. "Jo made some of the best moves she made all year. She looked good with back to the basket, and she took it right at Smith and hit high percentage. That's the thing I like about Jo. She took it as a personal challenge."
Any chance of Hawaii making a run in the half was doused by the Techsters hot shooting as Tech hit 60 percent (21-35) of its field goals in the opening period on its way to a 51-24 halftime lead.
"Hawaii's defense is tough, and I thought we went out and executed," Long said. "That's a good sign for us. I thought a lot of players contributed to this win."
Hawaii entered the game ranked second in the WAC in field goal percentage defense at 38 percent but Tech - despite playing its bench for a vast portion of the second half - ended the night shooting 46 percent (33-72) for the game.
Nastassja Levingston ignited Tech's perimeter game, scoring 13 points while hitting 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, all of those coming early in the game.
"She really came out and got off to a great start for us," Long said. "She went though a spell where she really struggled shooting the basketball, but she's continued to work and she's starting to feel it."
Hawaii never got closer than 27 points in the final half with Tech's biggest lead coming at 40 points and 84-44 with 3:43 to play.
Tech returns to action Monday night when the Lady Techsters host WAC-leading Fresno State at 7 p.m.