Feb. 7, 2013
SAN ANTONIO - Entering Thursday night's contest between Louisiana Tech and UTSA, the Roadrunners ranked No. 1 in the Western Athletic Conference in scoring defense holding opponents to only 54 points per contest.
Lady Techster sophomore guard Kelia Shelton almost matched that by herself as she torched the nets - and the Roadrunners defense - for 45 points to lead LA Tech to a 79-73 victory at the Convocation Center.
Shelton, whose point total was a Western Athletic Conference record and was the second most in Lady Techster history, hit 16-of-22 field goals, 3-of-3 three-pointers and 10-of-14 free throws while also grabbing a team-high eight rebounds in the victory.
The Rock Hill, South Carolina native's total trails only Sheila Ethridge's 47-point outburst in a win over Texas-Pan American on Feb. 23, 1991. It surpassed the WAC scoring record of 44 by San Diego State's Kieishsha Garnes vs. Creighton on March 8, 1991.
The Lady Techsters needed every bit of Shelton's offensive production to pull out the win against a UTSA team that downed LA Tech 51-50 in Ruston back on Jan. 12.
"Kelia got to the basket consistently, took jumpers when they were there for her and just had the mindset that she wasn't going to be stopped," said Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon. "To have her so aggressive offensively was a huge positive for us. It took a lot of the load off of Lulu (Perry) who also had a great game."
In addition to Shelton's historic performance, Perry added 19 points and Brittany Lewis added 10 points. Savanna Langston added five points off the bench as only four Lady Techsters scored in the game. Starting point guard Janay Borum and starting forward Whitney Frazier both fouled out of the game without scoring.
UTSA also entered the game ranked No. 1 in the WAC and top 50 in the country in field goal percentage defense as the Roadrunners were holding opponents to only 35 percent shooting for the year. However, with Shelton muscling her way to the basket and knocking down open jumpers, Tech shot a season-high 56 percent (27-48), including 5-of-10 from the three-point line. The Lady Techsters also hit 20-of-24 free throws.
Tech (11-11, 7-4 WAC) opened the game strong as Shelton and Perry combined to score the first 21 points of the game for the Lady Techsters. Shelton's layup with 11:12 to play in the opening half gave Tech a 21-9 advantage, its biggest of the game to that point.
After UTSA (12-11, 6-6 WAC) closed the gap to 23-16 on a three-point play by Niaga Mitchell-Cole with 9:05 to play, Shelton and Perry scored nine straight points and Tech eventually pushed the advantage out to 34-20. Tech led 39-29 at the half as Shelton totaled 21 first half points.
Tech came out of the locker room and was able to maintain its double digit lead until UTSA used an 11-4 run midway through the final stanza to close the advantage down to five. A three-pointer by Mitchell-Cole with 6:48 to play cut the Tech lead to 60-55 before Shelton answered with her third three-pointer of the game on the ensuing possession.
Four straight points by the Roadrunners made the score 63-59 with 5:58 to play before Shelton proceeded to score the next five points of the game at the free throw line as Tech's advantage was increased to 68-59.
Tech hit 17-of-20 free throws in the second half as UTSA was unable to get any closer than six points the rest of the way.
Miki Turner led UTSA with 16 points while Mitchell-Cole added 15 points and Whitney York chipped in with 14 points.
Tech won despite committing 24 turnovers and allowing 20 offensive rebounds by the Roadrunners.
The Lady Techsters return to action Saturday at 2 p.m. when they face Texas State in San Marcos.