Jan. 7, 2009
RENO -- Louisiana Tech opens Western Athletic Conference play Thursday when the Lady Techsters face the Nevada Wolf Pack at 9 p.m. CST at the Lawlor Events Center.
Tech (7-7, 0-0 WAC) is looking for its first road win of the year as the Lady Techsters are 0-for-6 on the year on opponents' courts while Nevada (6-7, 0-0 WAC) is 5-1 at home with the lone loss coming to BYU on Nov. 18.
Included in the Wolf Pack's impressive home mark is a 85-82 win over 10th-ranked Louisville on Nov. 29.
"Nevada is one of the most talented teams in our conference," said Tech head coach Chris Long. "They have three senior starters that have been through the wars so they are experienced. Dellena Criner is a special player on both ends of the court.
"This will be the tough test to start on the road at Nevada but our team is ready to start conference play. We are hungry to win the WAC championship and anytime you can win on the road in the league you have a head start in the race."
Criner leads the Wolf Pack offensively as the four-year starter is averaging 14.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 43 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free throw line.
In addition to Criner, Nevada has a balanced attack which includes contributions from Brandi Jones (9.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg), Johnna Ward (7.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg), Cherlanda Franklin (7.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Shavon Moore (6.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg).
Tech continues to rank among the nation's top teams in a number of defensive statistical categories including in the Top 15 in field goal percentage defense (.338), three-point field goal percentage defense (.231) and blocked shots (6.0 bpg).
The Lady Techsters have held eight of their last nine opponents under 40 percent shooting, including a streak of eight straight games that was snapped in a 71-66 loss to McNeese State last weekend.