Jan. 9, 2013
RUSTON - When Louisiana Tech takes the court Thursday night for a 7 p.m. tipoff against Western Athletic Conference foe Texas State, the current group of Lady Techsters will be looking to do their part to help make history.
Throughout its almost four decades of existence, the Lady Techster program has dominated its sport like almost no other.
The Lady Techsters - who were the brainchild of former Tech President F. Jay Taylor and legendary coach Sonja Hogg - have etched the school's name throughout the women's basketball record books since the program inception in 1974.
While winning three national titles, competing in eight national championship games, advancing to 13 Final Fours and participating in 27 NCAA Tournaments, Louisiana Tech has recorded 38 straight winning seasons and has won 1023 games.
And Ruston has proven to be an almost impossible place for opponents to succeed.
Less than two years after joining Tennessee as only the second program to ever win 1,000 games, the Lady Techsters are now only one win short of recording 500 victories all-time at home - 84 at old Memorial Gym and 415 at the Thomas Assembly Center.
499-53 is the overall record in games played in Ruston since 1974. That's a winning percentage of 90.4 percent - making Ruston the second hardest place to play in women's basketball behind only Knoxville, Tennessee.
Head coach Teresa Weatherspoon, who led the Lady Techsters to so many of those 499 wins during her four-year career back in the mid-1980s, said that while the milestone victory will be nice whenever it does occur, her team is focused on what it must do to defeat Texas State - the WAC's top scoring team.
"It's all about getting better whether it's the next game or the next practice," Weatherspoon said. "We have to understand what is needed to get better individually and as a team. The (500) milestone is very important, but I don't want to put pressure on the kids. I just want them to go out and play with energy and everything will fall in place.
Tech (6-7, 2-1 WAC) has had plenty of success at home this year, posting a 5-1 record with the lone loss coming to Top 25 ranked South Carolina. The Lady Techsters have pulled out a number of close games as four of the five wins have come by three points or less.
"It's important to do well at home," Weatherspoon said. "But to become the champion you want to become you have to win on the road. Our kids understand that. It's important to take care of business at home but then get ourselves prepared on road."
After starting the season 6-3, Texas State enters the game in the midst of a five-game losing streak as the Bobcats have lost three games in WAC play by three points or less. Texas State brings the WAC's No. 1 ranked offense into the game led by senior guard Diamond Ford, who is averaging 21.0 points a contest.
"It's a very tough match-up," Weatherspoon said. "Texas State's record is not indicative of how good they are. They get up and down the floor, and we will have to get back defensively. They are very active on both ends. We have to be very alert and be ready to go."
Ford, who ranks 8th in program history with 1,556 career points, scored a career-high 40 points in a 98-96 loss at San Jose State in the team's league opener two weeks ago.
The Bobcats also boast the only player in the WAC averaging a double double in sophomore forward Ashley Ezeh, who is scoring 16.1 points and pulling down 10.1 rebounds a game.
As part of what could be a historic night for the program, all fans attending the contest can participate in "Techster 500 Trivia" as prizes will be awarded for correct answers to questions pertaining to some of the greatest moments during some of these wins.
The first 100 fans through the TAC doors (which open at 5:30 p.m.) will receive a free "Bag the Bobcats" LA Tech drawstring bag.
Also, one lucky Louisiana Tech student will win a $500 cash prize from a random drawing which will take place during the media timeout under the eight-minute mark of the second half. Tech students entering the TAC doors through the student entrance will receive a ticket stub and the student whose number is drawn will receive the cash prize (winner must be present). Tickets will only be handed out from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m. game-day at the Tech student entrance.
The contest can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network with the pregame show beginning at 6:30 p.m. Fans can also access live video and audio through a paid subscription to LA Tech All-Access at www.LATechSports.com. Twitter updates can also be accessed by following @LATechWBB.