@LATechWBB Downs UTSA in Key C-USA Contest
Feb. 11, 2017
RUSTON – Louisiana Tech freshman Anna McLeod came up with some big plays down the stretch leading the Lady Techsters to an important 77-71 Conference USA win over UTSA Saturday afternoon at the Thomas Assembly Center.
With the win McLeod and the Lady Techsters (13-11, 8-5) moved into fourth place in the Conference USA standings heading into next week’s two-game road swing to Florida.
The win didn’t come easy.
Tech led 56-40 with three minutes to play in the third quarter before UTSA (11-12, 7-5) used a 16-0 run over the final minutes of the quarter and the first possession of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 56-56. The Roadrunners weren’t done.
Tesha Smith converted a conventional three-point play with 4:28 to play in the game to give UTSA a 65-62 lead, its first advantage since the Roadrunners led 22-21 with eight minutes to play in the second quarter. Tech had its back against the wall.
It responded. Alexus Malone, who led Tech with 18 points and eight rebounds, converted a conventional three-point play on the Lady Techsters next possession and then Kierra Lang hit a three-pointer – one of only two by Tech in the contest – giving the Techsters a 68-65 advantage. Another bucket by Smith cut the Tech lead to 1, setting up the heroics by McLeod.
The redshirt freshman started her impressive stretch with a 15-foot jumper with 2:34 to play to up the lead to 70-67. Twenty seconds later, she blocked a potential game-tying three-pointer by Carlie Heineman. Those two plays were big, but the last one was the biggest.
With Tech still clinging to a three-point advantage and under a minute to play, UTSA pulled down a rebound and appeared to have a transition layup when McLeod stepped in front of the intended receiver and stole the ball.
“Those are the types of plays that win ball games, but that so many times go unnoticed,” said Brooke Stoehr. “She had to sprint all the way back to make the play. If she doesn’t, it’s a layup for them, a one-point game and a momentum play. Instead we had the momentum. She made a number of plays late, but that was the biggest.”
McLeod wasn’t the only Tech reserve to come up big as Tech’s bench outperformed UTSA’s bench the tune of 24-8. Reauna Cleaver scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Ashley Santos had five points and three rebounds, McLeod chipped in with four points, five rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal and Daria McCutcheon added two points and three boards.
“We got contributions from everyone,” said Stoehr. “And they were all important. We need our bench to contribute and today they made so many plays that helped us win this game.”
Tech trailed early, falling behind 17-7 after Heineman hit three three-pointers in the first five minutes of the game. The Lady Techsters closed the gap to 20-17 at the end of the quarter and then outscored UTSA 27-10 in the second quarter.
“We challenged them during the first media timeout,” said Stoehr. “We had given up 17 points and we just weren’t very good defensively. We held them to 13 points the rest of the first half. We really stepped it up.
“I thought we did a good job on Loryn Goodwin. We wanted to make someone else beat us. She is such a good player and has such great court awareness. We forced her to give it up and make others beat us. Heineman was the main one tonight.”
Goodwin finished the game with 10 points and 12 assists but hit only 4-of-13 field goals. Heineman hit 6-of-13 three-pointers and scored a game-high 20 points.
The Lady Techsters won the battle of the boards, outrebounding UTSA 48-35. Tech also hit 21-of-28 free throws in the game compared to 9-of-10 by UTSA.
Tech returns to action Thursday when it travels to Boca Raton to face Florida Atlantic.
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