@LATechWBB Earns Huge C-USA Road Win
Feb. 10, 2018
EL PASO, Texas – Alexus Malone scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and birthday girl Kierra Anthony added 15 points and four boards to lead Louisiana Tech to a hard-fought 65-62 win over UTEP Saturday afternoon at the Don Haskins Center.
The win wasn’t sealed until UTEP guard Zuzanna Puc missed an off-balance contested three-pointer at the buzzer, giving the Lady Techsters their first win in El Paso in more than a decade. The victory moved Tech (16-9, 7-5 C-USA) into sole possession of fifth place in the C-USA standings, one half game behind Middle Tennessee.
“It’s a tough place to play,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “They had a really good crowd and that helped get them back into the game late in the third quarter. We got into some foul trouble. We faced some adversity on the road at a tough place to play with some foul trouble. We got contributions from a number of people off the bench. We weren’t great offensively in the fourth quarter but we were trying to run some clock. We got stops down the stretch when it mattered most, and I’m really proud of this tem.”
After trailing by one point 33-32 at the half, Tech used a strong third quarter to build as much as an 11 points advantage before leading 54-46 at the end of the stanza. UTEP came out strong in the fourth quarter, scoring the first five points and cutting the Tech lead down to three. A conventional three-point play by UTEP forward Tamara Seda with 7:07 to play cut the lead to 58-56.
However, Tech would answer when sophomore guard Kierra Lang drained a three-pointer on Tech’s next possession to push the lead back to five.
“Our players never caved,” said Stoehr. “They had scored on a couple of straight possessions, and they weren’t guard Kierra Lang. She stepped up and hit a big three-pointer that put us back up five or six and gave us a little breathing room. That was a big play for us, and I’m proud of her for stepping up and knocking it down in a big moment.”
Tech turned to its defense late. Following a jumper by Katarina Zec with 6:27 to play in the game that cut the lead to 61-58, the Lady Techsters held the Miners to only one more made field goal the rest of the game. UTEP was 1-of-5 from the field with four turnovers during the final six minutes of action.
The Lady Techsters came out of the starting blocks strong, building a 15-12 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to a 7-0 run and eventually pushing it out to as many as six points at 18-12. However, UTEP began pounding the basketball inside to Seda and the Miners fought back to take a 33-32 halftime lead.
“We didn’t have a single offensive rebound in the first half and that was frustrating,” said Stoehr. “I challenged our team at halftime, and we had nine in the second half. We scored 22 points in the third quarter and a lot of those came off of offensive rebounds.”
Seda and Malone battled back and forth all day long. The 6-foot-4-inch UTEP forward finished with 23 points and eight rebounds while Malone had 21 points and 11 boards.
“Seda is a big kid,” said Stoehr. “She scored 23 points, but it took her a while to get going. I didn’t think we defended very well in the first half. They drove it and got the ball into the paint. We just didn’t defend as five. We went to the zone in the second half and it broke their rhythm and forced them to use the shot clock. It also limited their interior touches.
“Last year Seda blocked a number of shots, and I thought it affected us. Today I thought Lex and Sweets took it right at her. And if you look at the shots Lex missed, they were mostly from the perimeter. I was proud of them. They didn’t back down. Lex was giving up a lot of height inside. Getting this double double on the road was huge. I thought her energy was big for us in the second half.”
Anthony continued her recent tear, recording her fifth straight game of 15 or more points. The New Iberia, Louisiana native is only 34 points short of becoming the 42nd Louisiana Tech player to score 1,000 career points.
Junior guard Taylor Stahly scored 10 points, including three more three-pointers. Stahly has now hit at least one three-pointer in all 25 games this year.
Tech shot 43 percent (23-54) from the field, 8-of-18 from the three-point line and 11-of-17 from the free throw line. UTEP shot 46 percent (24-52) from the field, 2-of-11 from the three-point line and 12-of-16 from the free throw line.
The Lady Techsters committed only 10 turnovers in the game.
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