Malone, Whitney Lead @LATechWBB to Victory

Dec. 18, 2017

Final Stats

RUSTON – Alexus Malone and Zhanae Whitney each scored season highs to lead Louisiana Tech to a 78-62 win over McNeese State before 1,823 fans at the Thomas Assembly Center Monday night.

Malone scored 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting while Whitney added a career-high 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting as the Lady Techsters (7-4) outmuscled the Cowgirls (4-6) inside while shooting 54 percent for the game.

For the second straight game, Louisiana Tech got off to a slow start on its home floor. McNeese State came out of the gate strong, leading by as many as eight points in the first quarter and holding a 21-17 advantage at the end of the opening 10 minutes of play. The Cowgirls pulled down eight offensive rebounds in the first quarter that led to nine second chance points.

“They have three players that average over 6 boards a game,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “They are undersized, but they are extremely active. They pulled down 20 offensive boards against Tulane who is a much bigger team. We knew that was a key going into the game. That’s frustrating. We have to find a way to get off to better starts. We have tried different lineups, but we have to find a way to get off to better starts because when we go on the road, we can’t dig ourselves a hole.”

Tech turned the switch in the second quarter, shooting 9-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-5 from the three-point line and outscoring McNeese State 25-11. The Lady Techsters held the Cowgirls to only 3-of-11 from the field in the quarter.

“I thought we substituted Daria (McCutcheon) in and I thought she brought some great energy for us,” said Stoehr. “We picked up full court and got some turnovers. Even when we didn’t get turnovers I thought we forced them to take quick shots. We were able to get rebounds and then run in transition. The second and third quarters I thought we defended well.”

 

 

Anna McLeod scored all nine of her points off the bench in the first half for Tech while Malone added 12 first half points and Kierra Anthony chipped in with eight by the break.

“I thought Anna and Daria provided a spark for us,” said Stoehr. “We got into foul trouble. Some of that is they spread you out and we have to defend better without fouling. Some of that is a young ball club that has to go through those moments.”

After scoring only two points in the first half, Whitney came alive offensively in the third and fourth quarters. She scored 12 of her 14 points in those two quarters and provided a nice complement to Malone who scored 14 points after halftime before fouling out late in the game.

“I thought Z finished very well,” said Stoehr. “That’s what we need. So many people are going to focus on Alexus and with (Reauna Cleaver) out that’s what we need. I thought Z was very calm and clean in her finishes and used the backboard nicely. I think she was very patient and used the glass and had some strong finishes for us.”

Tech led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter (54-36) but McNeese State closed the gap to 66-56 with 6:20 to play. However, Malone and Whitney scored seven straight points and Anthony added a three-pointer to fuel a 10-0 run and push the advantage to 76-56 with just over three minutes to play.

Anthony added 12 points for the Techsters in the win.

Bre’Ashlee Jones and Caitlin Davis led McNeese State with 12 points and Regan Bolton chipped in with 10 points.

Tech now leads the series 20-7, including a 13-1 mark in games in Ruston. The Lady Techsters return to action Thursday when they host Houston Baptist at 6:30 p.m.

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