March 8, 2008
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Louisiana Tech was without potential WAC player of the year Jo Sneed Saturday night.
Ends up they didn't need her.
With Sneed - who leads the WAC in scoring and ranks second in rebounding in league games - sitting in the stands due to suspension stemming from an on-the-court incident in Thursday's loss to Hawaii, Tech (15-14, 9-7 WAC) ran away with a 78-64 victory over San Jose State at The Events Center.
"I am very proud of our effort," said Tech head coach Chris Long. "I was really concerned about this game anyway with it being the second game of this long Hawaii road trip. Then you take Jo off the court and it added even more adversity. These young kids came out and took care of business, and I couldn't be more pleased."
Early on, it looked like it could be a long night for Tech as San Jose State jumped out to a 7-0 before Long called a 30-second timeout with 16:51 to play to settle his troops. It worked.
Tech responded with a 16-2 run over the next seven minutes and grabbed a 16-9 lead. The run was triggered by 12 straight points by Tech reserves as Sidney Stewart hit a pair of threes, Keshia Warren added a couple of layups and April Williams hit a jumper.
"I thought when I went to the bench tonight, the energy level actually increased," Long said. "This was definitely a team victory tonight."
The Lady Techsters, who finish in a two-way tie for fourth place with Nevada, pushed the advantage out to as many as 14 in the first half (31-17 at the 4:18 mark) before San Jose State closed the gap to 33-25 on a Natalie White jumper at the 1:54 mark.
However, a half-ending 7-2 run highlighted by an off-balance one-handed three-pointer at the buzzer by Nastassja Levingston gave Tech a 40-27 halftime lead.
Freshman Adrienne Johnson and sophomore Shanavia Dowdell were instrumental in putting the Spartans away as the duo were too much inside for San Jose State. Johnson, who started in place of Sneed, ended the night with 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal while Dowdell added 14 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and two steals.
"I thought Shanavia really struggled early," Long said. "I thought she was trying to do too much to compensate for Sneed. Once she settled down, she was her typical self. Adrienne really stepped up for us. She showed what the future holds for her and for this team."
Tech led 78-52 on a layup by Tiawana Pringle with 3:55 to play when Long emptied his bench. San Jose State ended the game on a 12-0 run to make the score respectable.
Stewart scored a career-high 16 points and scored in double figures for the third straight game. Levingston ended in the night with 14 points and held White to only 6-of-17 shooting and 12 points.
"I thought she did a great job of guarding White," Long said. "She is capable of scoring at anytime from anywhere on the court. I thought she really stayed on her and forced her to put the ball on the floor."
White, who entered the game having made 50-of-159 three-pointers on the year, was 0-for-1 from behind the arc in the game.