@LATechWBB Defense Leads Techsters to Win over Penn State
Nov. 24, 2017
LAS VEGAS – Penn State entered Friday night’s contest against Louisiana Tech averaging almost 80 points a game in its five wins to open the season.
The Lady Techsters put a dent in both of those numbers as LA Tech (4-1) posted its most complete game of the season in handing the Nittany Lions a 71-59 loss at South Point Arena in Las Vegas.
The win is the program’s first against a P5 program since defeating Ole Miss 57-54 during the 2012-13 season. It came in impressive fashion.
“I am so proud of how we competed tonight,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “We defended them well and once we starting taking care of the basketball, we ran our offense, got good shots and were able to score both inside and out. We had a lot of people step up tonight, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Tech trailed 15-10 after a first quarter that saw the Lady Techsters commit eight turnovers. After committing 29 in its loss at Auburn, it wasn’t the start Stoehr wanted to see from her team.
“We were making too many mistakes in the first quarter,” said Stoehr. “We just needed to settle down and make the easy pass. Once we did that, you saw what we were able to do. We scored 23 points in the second quarter when we didn’t commit a single turnover. It’s an area we have to continue to get better in and we will continue to work on it.”
Junior guard Taylor Stahly led Tech’s second quarter charge, hitting three of her five three-pointers, as Tech used an 11-0 run early in the frame to take a 27-20 lead. She was joined in the second quarter offensive barrage by junior Reauna Cleaver inside. Cleaver scored eight of her 13 points in the final minutes of the quarter to help the Techsters take a 33-29 lead into the halftime locker room.
Penn State (5-1) rallied in the third quarter, taking a couple of one-point leads, including a 49-48 lead after a pair of free throws on a technical foul called on the Tech bench. However, junior Kierra Anthony answered with a steal leading to an uncontested layup to regain the lead. Senior Alexus Malone then hit a running one-hander in the lane at the buzzer to give Tech a 52-49 advantage heading into the fourth.
“I thought Taylor and Kierra were unbelievable for us tonight,” said Stoehr. “They knocked down some big shots in key moments. Inside, I thought we looked like a different team than we did against Auburn. I thought we were intimidated at times inside against Auburn. Tonight against another big front line, we took it to them and we finished around the basket.”
Tech led 59-56 early in the fourth quarter before a pair of free throws by Cleaver increased the advantage to 61-56. After a turnover by Penn State, a pair of reserves combined for the biggest play of the night. With the shot clock running down with four minutes to play in the game, junior Zhanae Whitney dove on the floor in the lane for a loose basketball, took it away from a Penn State player and then from the ground, passed it out to freshman Raizel Guinto who drained a three-pointer from in front of the Tech bench. The bucket gave Tech a 64-56 lead and Penn State would get no closer than six the rest of the way.
“Raizel provided us some great minutes tonight,” said Stoehr. “With Kierra Lang out (due to injury), we are going to go with our two freshman point guards (in Guinto and Amber Dixon). They are going to grow up on the court and tonight I thought they did.”
Anthony led four players in double figures with 17 points and four steals, while Stahly added 15 points on 5-of-7 from the three-point line. Cleaver added 13 points and seven rebounds and Malone recorded a double double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Amari Carter led Penn State with 24 points.
Tech shot 52 percent (28-54) from the field for the game, including 7-of-16 from the three-point line while the Lady Techsters held Penn State to 40 percent (19-47) from the field. Tech outrebounded Penn State 34-25.
The Lady Techsters will return to action Sunday when they face Niagara at 1 p.m. CT.
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