Dec. 1, 2012
RUSTON - Sophomore Whitney Frazier scored 15 points to lead four Louisiana Tech players in double figures as the Lady Techsters defeated Ole Miss 57-54 before 4,785 fans at the Thomas Assembly Center Saturday night.
Tech (2-3) played stellar defensively for most of the night, holding Ole Miss (4-2) to only 34 percent (22-65) shooting while also outrebounding the SEC foe 45-40.
After opening the game by scoring the first seven points, the Lady Techsters never trailed but were unable to put the Rebels away and had to withstand a pair of three-point attempts by Ole Miss in the final five seconds of the contest.
"This was a great win for our young team to play against such a tough team," said Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon. "The thing that impressed me the most was we didn't allow them to ever take the lead. Our kids were resilient and fought hard. I can't say but great things about what we did tonight. We still have a lot of growing to do. We made mistakes, but we fought to the end."
Behind the outside shooting of Lulu Perry and Frazier, who made her first career start at the three guard spot, and the strong inside play of Jasmine Bryant, who made her first Division I start, and Brittany Lewis, the Lady Techsters were able to build as much as an 11-point lead at 26-15 with 4:51 to play in the opening half.
Frazier scored 10 of her game-high 15 points in the opening half, and ended the night by hitting 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. She entered the game 0-of-3 from the three-point line this year.
"This was the first time she has been out there at the three," Weatherspoon said. "She played a lot at the three. She was guarding ones, twos and threes. She was doing what we asked of her."
However, Ole Miss point guard Valencia McFarland harassed the Tech guards all night long and time after time made plays that kept the Rebels alive. After Perry's three gave Tech the 11-point advantage, McFarland recorded two of three Ole Miss' steals in a 30 second span that ignited a 7-0 run as the lead was closed to 26-22 with 3:22 to play.
McFarland recorded eight of the Rebels 17 steals on the night as Ole Miss outscored Tech 18-2 on fast break points.
"It hurts us tremendously to turn the ball over and not get a shot," Weatherspoon said. "We want to get a shot every possession. Every time we turned it over, it seemed like they went on a fast break and scored. We cannot turn the ball over or we make the game very difficult on ourselves."
Tech led 30-22 at the half and after a Perry jumper to begin the second half pushed the advantage out to double figures again, McFarland ignited an 11-2 run with a steal and conventional three-point play. Amber Singletary's layup with 15:50 to play in the game made the score 34-33 LA Tech.
Bryant then went to work for LA Tech, scoring six points over the next five minutes as Tech pushed the lead back out to 47-37 on a three-pointer by Frazier at the 10 minutes mark of the final stanza. Bryant ended the game with career highs in points with 14, rebounds with seven and assists with four.
"She was big," Weatherspoon said. "The great thing was we asked Jasmine to be aggressive to the rim. She possesses great strength and power, and she did exactly what we asked of her. She got the time. Tonight was a great game for her."
Ole Miss would cut it to 57-54 on a layup by McFarland with 1:09 to play and the Rebels had three more possessions but were unable to tie the score as the Lady Techsters won for the sixth time in the seven game series.
Lewis added 12 points and 10 rebounds while Perry scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds in her first game since Nov. 12.
McFarland led Ole Miss with 15 points.
Tech returns to action Tuesday when it faces Texas A&M at 7 p.m. in College Station.