UTEP Holds Off Techsters
Feb. 5, 2014
EL PASO, Texas - On a night when it looked as though Louisiana Tech might pull off its biggest win of the season, the Lady Techsters came up short as UTEP pulled out an 85-75 win at the Don Haskins Center Wednesday night.
Tech (7-14, 2-6 C-USA) entered the game searching for its first road win of the year, while UTEP (18-4, 6-2) sported an impressive 12-1 mark at its home gym.
However, behind the outside shooting of Lulu Perry and JaQuan Jackson and a typical performance by Whitney Frazier, the Lady Techsters positioned themselves to pull off what would have been one of the biggest surprises in C-USA play this year.
Despite trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half and playing from behind the vast majority of the time, Tech took a 70-69 lead on Perry's sixth three-pointer of the night with 4:13 to play. Perry, who entered the game 10-of-52 from three-point land this year, found her rhythm early and often as the sophomore guard scored a career-high 24 points, including hitting 6-of-8 from behind the arc.
The upset, however, was not meant to be. UTEP came out of the last officials' timeout of the game and scored eight straight points as Tech committed two crucial turnovers while allowing the Miners to get to the rim for three straight layups.
Following a Frazier layup with 1:45 to play that cut the deficit to 77-72, UTEP scored five straight to push the advantage back out to double digits. Jackson's late three-pointer, her third of the game, wasn't enough as Tech fell for the tenth straight time on the road this year.
"I thought the kids played extremely hard," said Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon. "I thought we shot it well. However, we committed 23 turnovers and we allowed 24 offensive rebounds. We can't do that. And the fact UTEP shot 33 free throws and we shot 14 ... that was next to impossible to overcome. I thought our kids played just as hard as their (players)."
Tech almost found a way to overcome its deficiencies on this night. Despite surrendering 21 points off of turnovers and 20 second chance points and being outscored by 18 points at the free throw line, the Lady Techsters proved they could play with one of the top teams in Conference USA.
"It's disappointing," Weatherspoon said. "We put ourselves in position. It's a loss. However, I hope our kids see that they can play with anyone in this league. We need to get ready for Marshall on Saturday."
In addition to Perry's career-high night, Frazier recorded her 11th double double of the season - and 10th in the last 14 games - with 17 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Jackson, the reigning Conference USA Freshman of the Week, added 15 points and a career-high 7 rebounds in 40 minutes.
Junior point guard Chrisstasia Walter also tied her career-high with 10 assists - only three turnovers - while adding seven points, five steals and four rebounds.
UTEP's inside combination of Kayla Thornton and Kristine Vitola proved too much for Tech. Vitola scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds while Thornton added 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Tech shot 43 percent (29-67) from the field, 11-of-25 from the three-point line and only 6-of-14 from the free throw line. UTEP shot 38 percent (27-71) from the field, 7-of-30 from the three-point line and 24-of-33 from the charity stripe.
The Lady Techsters return to action Saturday when they travel to face Marshall at 12 p.m. CT.
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