Jan. 1, 2011
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech will play its final non-conference game of the year Sunday when the Lady Techsters host Southern Miss at 2 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center.
Head coach Teresa Weatherspoon's team is 7-5 entering the game after splitting two games at the Fun and Sun Classic in Miami earlier this week, posting a 77-62 win over Georgia while falling 83-75 to Marquette.
"We must understand the importance of being consistent," Weatherspoon said. "We played with great intensity against Georgia and played great defense. Then we got into the game against Marquette and that same determination wasn't there. We are learning what it takes to become the team we want to be down the stretch. It's a learning process."
Despite Tech's struggles at times during some of its close losses, Weatherspoon believes the challenges that the non-conference slate has provided will benefit her team in the long run. Through games played Friday, LA Tech's strength of schedule ranked 17th in the country as its opponents have combined for a mark of 95-54.
"This has been a great schedule for us," Weatherspoon said." When we look back we didn't win a few of them but we have been in all of them. We just hadn't learned how to win at that time. It will be great for us as we enter the WAC play. We have played some great opponents and learned a lot about ourselves."
Southern Mississippi (5-7) will provide another challenge for the Lady Techsters despite entering the game on a four-game losing streak. The Golden Eagles have also played a tough non-conference slate that ranks in the Top 40 in the country and have already recorded a win over UALR, a team that defeated the Lady Techsters this year.
Head coach Joye Lee-McNelis' team is led by a couple of newcomers in freshman point guard Jamierra Faulkner and junior college transfer forward Rachel Vigers.
Faulkner is averaging 10.9 points per game and ranks as one of the nations assist leaders with 76 on the year. The 5-foot-6-inch Faulkner has already recorded three games with double digit assists this season, including 10 against Top 25 Kentucky.
Tech leads the all-time series against Southern Miss 3-1, although the Eagles lone win came in Ruston by a score of 76-62 during the 2007-08 season.
The contest can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on ESPN 97.7 FM with the pregame show beginning at 1:30 p.m. Fans can also follow the action live on the web by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at www.latechsports.com.