@LATechWBB Snaps Rice's 15-game Home Winning Streak
March 1, 2018
HOUSTON, Texas – Regardless of where Louisiana Tech is seeded in the upcoming Conference USA Tournament, the other teams in the league don’t want to see the Lady Techsters next week at the Ford Center in Frisco.
Kierra Anthony scored a career-high 30 points to lead Louisiana Tech to a 70-62 victory over the Rice Owls Thursday night, snapping the Owls 15-game home winning streak which dated back to last season.
The victory was also Tech’s fourth straight on the road, including wins at Middle Tennessee, UAB and UTEP, as the Lady Techsters haven’t lost away from Ruston since a Jan. 20 setback at Florida Atlantic.
With the win, Tech (19-10, 10-6 C-USA) put itself in position for a possible top four seed and first day bye in the C-USA Tournament. Although the Lady Techsters are done with the regular season, the three teams Tech is competing against for the final two Top 4 seeds each play Saturday. Rice, Charlotte and Middle Tennessee all finish their regular season at home Saturday.
However, Tech did what it had to do Thursday, defeating Rice for the fourth straight time in the series.
“I am so proud of this group for being resilient and hanging tough,” said head coach Brooke Stoehr. “Rice had won 15 in a row here dating back to last year. They hadn’t lost here all year. We knew it was going to be a tough night.
“I thought we started a little sluggish offensively. We only scored 12 in the first quarter and turned it over a few times. We didn’t go to the boards. I thought defensively we only gave up 13 but we were giving up too many loose balls, offensive rebounds, long rebounds. We talked about that and I thought they really responded. I’m really proud of this group.
“Now we will wait and see what happens with some other teams, but this will give us some momentum heading into next week. We are playing with a lot of confidence about us.”
Tech trailed 13-12 at the end of the first quarter and found itself down 27-24 with just under three minutes to play in the second quarter. However, Anthony hit back-to-back jumpers and Taylor Stahly drilled a buzzer beating three-pointer to cap a 12-0 run and send LA Tech into the halftime locker room leading 36-27.
“I thought we executed beautifully in that last two minutes and that is what you want,” said Stoehr. “You want momentum going into breaks and coming out of breaks. I thought we did a really good job of that. I thought the same thing in the third quarter. We really had a good focus about us, and I hope we can keep this up.”
Tech executed on both ends of the floor in the third and fourth quarters. Anthony hit a jumper to start the third quarter to push the advantage to 38-27 before Rice used a 13-4 run ignited by Erica Ogwumike to close the gap to 42-40 with 2:29 to play in the stanza.
However, Anthony teamed up with senior forward Alexus Malone to score the final eight points of the quarter as Tech led 50-40 with 10 minutes to play. Anthony had 25 points through three quarters.
“I thought she really attacked and she took some really good shots,” said Stoehr. “She missed a couple of shots in transition in the first half and then had to force a couple of late shot clock shots down the stretch. You take those away and she had an amazing shooting night. She still goes 13 of 19 from the field. She was huge. I thought she attacked.
“I told her the biggest play of the game might not have come on any points she scored but when they doubled her coming off a baseline drive and she found Lang for an open layup underneath. It was a beautiful pass, an amazing look and a very unselfish play. I think it stretched out lead to double figures at that point. That was a big moment. I thought she played with an aggression and an attacking mentality tonight.”
Tech led 59-50 with six minutes to play in the fourth when Anthony found Lang backdoor for a layup, pushing the advantage back out to double digits. The Lady Techsters would push it out to as many as 14 in a pair of Anthony free throws with 2:20 to play and then didn’t allow Rice to get closer than the final margin of victory.
Anthony added four steals, three assists and three rebounds while playing 39 minutes in the win.
“I was just feeling it tonight,” said Anthony. “I knew we had to get this win. We have just concentrated a whole lot more (during the three-game winning streak). We have been playing better as a team. It starts with our energy and our defense.”
Stahly added 14 points, including four more three-pointers in the win. She now is just five three-pointers shy of tying the single season record of 86 set by Aarica Ray-Boyd in 2004-05.
Malone added nine points, a game-high 12 rebounds and two steals in 31 minutes.
Ogwumike led Rice with 22 points while Nichole Iademarco added 19 points.
Tech shot 51 percent (28-55) from the field and outrebounded Rice 34-33.
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