Feb. 2, 2012
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech Senior guard Jasmine Bendolph has always said she loves playing for one of the greatest point guards in the history of women's basketball in current Lady Techster head coach Teresa Weatherspoon.
On Thursday night in Tech's 77-63 win over Nevada, Bendolph tried everything in her power to give her best impression of T-Spoon ... and pretty much succeeded.
The Mobile, Alabama native recorded her third career double double with 12 points and a career-high 15 assists as the Lady Techsters shot 53 percent (31-58) for the game in the 14-point victory over the Wolf Pack (5-16, 1-5 WAC).
Bendolph's 15 assists were the sixth most in Tech history and the most by a LA Tech player in more than 24 years. The last Lady Techster to accomplish the feat was none other than Weatherspoon, who tallied 15 dimes in a win over Oklahoma State in 1987-88.
"She makes the game so easy," said Weatherspoon, who saw her team record 29 assists on 31 field goals. "Her vision is so good. She can see behind her. She knows what is about to happen before it happens. She makes the game so much easier for everyone else. To see her perform with so much energy and life is fun. That's her job. It's unselfish basketball. You get joy from passing the basketball. Her teammates were finishing for her. I am proud of her."
Bendolph got Tech (11-10, 4-2 WAC) started early as she recorded assists on the first four field goals and eight of the first nine as LA Tech built a 20-12 lead with 12:50 to play in the first half. Shantale Bramble-Donaldson was the main recipient in the first half of Bendolph's distribution as the senior forward scored 14 of her 16 points in the opening 20 minutes.
"We wanted to makes sure we shared the basketball," Weatherspoon said. "We have been working on those things. We are starting to see people when they are open. We were turning the corner and finding people open. We were drawing the defense and finding open shots. We were knocking down those shots."
After Nevada cut the Tech advantage to 40-29 with less than two minutes to play in the half, Bendolph ignited an 8-2 run to close the half with a three-pointer and freshman Whitney Frazier capped it with an offensive rebound and putback at the buzzer as the Lady Techsters led 48-31.
Bendolph then opened the second half with a three-pointer to give Tech what would be its biggest lead of the night at 51-31 before the Wolf Pack used a 10-1 run over the next four minutes to cut the deficit to 52-41 with 14:19 to play.
The lead was pushed back out to 19 at 66-47 thanks to offensive contributions by Tavasha Anderson and Frazier. Nevada made one final push and cut the Techster advantage to 71-61 with under two minutes to play before Bendolph hit a 15-foot jumper and then recorded her 15th and final assist of the night on a fast break layup by Bramble-Donaldson with less than a minute to play.
Anderson tied her career-high with 17 points while Frazier recorded her first career double double with 14 points and a career-high 11 boards.
Chanelle Brennan led Nevada with 17 points and eight rebounds. Tech held the Wolf Pack's leading scorer in Kate Kevorken to only four points.
The LA Tech win sets up a showdown with WAC leader Fresno State Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center.