March 9, 2013
RUSTON, La. (March 9, 2013) - With their backs against the wall, Louisiana Tech came out punching as the Lady Techsters led from start to finish in defeating Denver 69-51 Saturday night before 2,131 fans at the Thomas Assembly Center.
LA Tech (13-16, 9-9 WAC) entered the night knowing that a fourth straight loss would send them into the upcoming Western Athletic Conference Tournament as the No. 7 seed, forcing them to start play Tuesday and making it that much more difficult to win the title.
However, Whitney Frazier led all scorers with 15 points and the Lady Techsters came out of a six-game shooting slump by hitting 57 percent (26-46) of its field goals as Tech defeated the Pioneers (13-16, 8-10 WAC) for the second time this season.
"What I liked the most about our kids is that they stayed with game plan," said Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon. "Offensively, we started to click. We started to get open shots. We were finding people. We were dialed in, not just on winning, but on the process.
"We really went to work on shooting the ball yesterday. We did even more things working with mechanics of shooting. We did those things, the kids took their time and shot it confidently. That made a difference for us."
With the win, Tech enters the WAC Tournament as the No. 5 seed and will face the No. 4 seed UTSA Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m. CT at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
While the Lady Techsters were knocking down open shots from inside and outside, it was the defensive effort that allowed LA Tech to build a double digit lead 12 minutes into the game and extend it out to 38-21 on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Jelena Vucinic right before the half.
"This is how you have to play all the time," Weatherspoon said. "When you play like this, it's really fun. It was important we got off to a good start. Denver is a good basketball team. Our defensive effort was great and it translated over to the offensive end. All 12 players were dialed in to the game plan.
"We went over this and over this and over this defensive game plan. Tonight it looked like things sunk in with our kids with what we are trying to accomplish. Everyone must want the win. That's what our mindset was. Everyone had to stay positive."
Denver entered the game ranked No. 1 in the WAC in assist to turnover ratio. However, behind a swarming, trapping man-to-man defense, the Lady Techsters forced 19 turnovers - 15 in the first half - and kept the Pioneers off balance all night.
Tech came out of the locker room and started the second half like it played the entire opening 20 minutes as it scored the first eight points and pushed its advantage out to 46-21 on a Frazier jumper with 17:17 to play in the game. Denver would get no closer than 17 points the rest of the way. Brittany Lewis and Lulu Perry each added 12 points for the Lady Techsters in the win.
Morgan Van Riper-Rose led the Pioneers with 10 points.