Dec. 29, 2012
DENVER - Kelia Shelton scored a career-high 26 points and Whitney Frazier added a double double to lead Louisiana Tech to an 82-77 come-from-behind double overtime win over Denver Saturday at Hamilton Gymnasium.
Tech (5-6, 1-0 WAC) trailed by as many as 13 points in the game and found itself down six with just over a minute to play in regulation before Shelton hit a pair of three-pointers, including the game-tying one with only 14 seconds to play - sending the game into overtime.
The Lady Techsters trailed 72-70 in the waning moments of the first extra period when Frazier - who had missed five of her first seven free throws in the game - stepped to the line and calmly sank two with 14 seconds to play, sending the game into the second overtime.
Although neither team shot the ball well from the field in the overtimes, Tech hit 9-of-12 free throws including 4-of-4 by freshman guard Lulu Perry in the final 30 seconds of the game to seal the victory. The win is Tech's first road victory of the season.
"It was a gusty, gutsy win," said Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon. "Our kids battled and fought through it all. I like that. They found a way to make some adjustments on their own. Our kids just fought. All the minutes Whitney Frazier and Kelia Shelton played ... that's a lot of minutes especially at this altitude. All of our kids competed and we found a way to win."
Tech took an early 6-3 lead three minutes into the game before Denver (5-7, 0-1) used an 18-2 run over a seven minute period to take a 21-8 advantage as Quincey Noonan converted a three-point play with 10:50 to play in the opening half.
The lead stayed around double digits as DU led 31-19 with 1:23 to play in the opening half before Lewis and Shelton both hit shots in the final minute to cut the Pioneers lead to 31-23 at the break. Tech shot only 35 percent (10-29) from the field in the first half while Denver shot 42 percent (13-31) and outrebounded the Lady Techsters 22-16.
"We were pretty lucky to only be down by eight at the half," Weatherspoon said. "We were happy to be where we were considering how we played. Those first five minutes of second half were so important for us to get going offensively and get back defensively. Our kids made adjustments and it worked."
The second half was a different story for LA Tech offensively, as the Lady Techster hit 52 percent (16-31), including 5-of-6 from the three-point line.
Shelton and Frazier, who combined to score only eight points in the first half, came to life in the second half as they scored 34 points while shooting 10 of 15 from the field.
After slowly whittling down the DU lead, Tech tied the game at 42-42 with 13:47 to play when Shelton hit the first of her four three-pointers. Three minutes later, Frazier gave the Lady Techsters their first lead since the opening minutes when she hit a layup with 10:08 to play to make the score 48-46.
Denver answered with a 9-0 run in less than 60 seconds as the Pioneers led 53-46 with 9:11 to play. Up 60-52 with less than five minutes to play, Denver saw Tech answer as Kanedria Andrews scored four straight points and Shelton hit a jumper to cut the deficit to two points.
After Frazier hit one of two free throws with two minutes to play, Denver guard Emiko Smith buried what appeared to be a dagger with a three-pointer with 1:31 to play to give the Pioneers a 65-59 advantage. However, Janay Borum hit two free throws with 1:19 to play and following a DU turnover, Shelton drilled a three-pointer with 1:14 to play to make the score 65-64.
Smith hit two free throws to put the score to 67-64 and DU had an opportunity to seal away the win, but Tech forced a defensive stop and then Shelton hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game and send it into overtime.
"She just trusted and believed in herself," Weatherspoon said. "It wasn't a wide open shot ... there was a person in her face. She trusted and believed in herself. It's that never say die attitude this team has."
For the game, Tech shot 41 percent (29-71) from the field, including 5-of-9 from the three-point line and 19-of-27 from the free throw line. Denver hit only 31 percent (25-81) of its field goals, including 5-of-16 from beyond the arc. The Pioneers were nearly flawless at the charity stripe, hitting 22-of-26.
Lulu Perry added 11 points for Tech while Borum scored six points, grabbed seven rebounds and recorded seven assists.
Maiya Michel and Noonan led Denver with 15 points and 11 rebounds each.
"This was just a hard fought basketball game," Weatherspoon said. "I admire Denver. They are well coached and those kids left it all on the court. There won't be too many teams that come in here and win in league play."
Tech improved to 20-13 all-time in overtime games, including a current streak of five straight wins.
The Lady Techsters return to action Monday when they travel to face New Mexico State at 7:30 p.m. CT in Las Cruces.