March 3, 2011
RUSTON - Senior guard Brietta Thomas scored a career-high 28 points and Adrienne Johnson added 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead Louisiana Tech to an 86-72 win over Boise State Thursday night at the Thomas Assembly Center.
With the victory, Tech (22-6, 14-1 WAC) clinched at least a share of the Western Athletic Conference regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming league tournament in Las Vegas March 9-12.
The Lady Techsters will close out their regular season Saturday at 2 p.m. when they host Idaho on Senior Day and can secure the outright WAC championship with a win. In Thursday night's victory over the Broncos (12-16, 3-12 WAC), Thomas did the damage on the outside while Johnson torched the Broncos inside as head coach Teresa Weatherspoon praised her entire team.
"I'm so proud of everyone," Weatherspoon said. "From our starters to our bench, everyone did what we asked them to do. I can't tell you how much I love my kids."
Although Tech led from start to finish, the win didn't come easy as Boise State kept the game close by shooting almost 50 percent from the field until the final few minutes when the Broncos went cold.
After opening in a man-to-man defense, the Broncos went zone after the Lady Techsters built a 13-point lead midway through the first half. With three players ranging 6-foot-2 or taller on the floor the majority of the time, Boise State's size could have caused some issues.
However, Thomas and Johnson turned it into a positive.
The duo combined to score 25 points in the opening 20 minutes of play as Tech took a 41-30 lead into the halftime locker room. The biggest contributing factor to the lead was Tech outscoring Boise State 17-0 on points off of turnovers as the Lady Techsters committed only three turnovers while the Broncos committed 13.
After Boise State closed the gap to 62-59 with 8:56 to play, Thomas drilled another three pushing the lead to six. The two teams remained close with Tech holding a 74-70 lead before another Thomas three-pointer at the 3:53 mark started a game-ending 12-2 run.
Thomas finished the game hitting 7-of-9 three-pointers -- tied for third most in Tech history --, including 5-of-6 in the second half, while adding four rebounds in 36 minutes of action.
"We've known all along that Bri can shoot," Weatherspoon said. "We did a good job of penetrating the zone and kicking it out to open shooters. Bri was down and ready to shoot tonight, and it showed. However, what I'm most pleased with is the effort she gave on the defensive end of the floor."
Johnson recorded her 13th double double of the year with 26 points and 10 rebounds while Shantale Bramble Donaldson scored 12 points off the bench.
Lauren Lenhardt led Boise State with 19 points.
For the game, Tech shot 41 percent (29-71) from the field, 8-of-26 from beyond the arc and 20-of-27 from the free throw line. Boise State hit 43 percent (26-60) of its field goals, 6-of-16 three-pointers and 14-of-16 free throws.
The Lady Techsters outrebounded Boise State 43-38 and ended the night with a season low six turnovers.