RUSTON - It wasn't pretty, but Louisiana Tech head coach Kurt Budke will take it.
In a game that saw the two teams combine for 54 turnovers and 38 fouls, the eighth-ranked Lady Techsters downed a scrappy Fresno State squad 81-59 Saturday night before 3,627 fans at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston.
The game featured the return of former Lady Techster assistant coach and current Fresno State head coach Stacy Johnson-Klein to Ruston, and her homecoming inspired her team as the Bulldogs (7-7, 1-3) kept things respectable for most of the night.
"(Fresno State) doesn't quit and they do a good job," Budke said "They play a lot of people; they rebound the ball well. They make you make some outside shots. I don't think we shot the ball very well tonight."
Fresno State actually led the game 16-13 at the 12:52 mark of the first half before Louisiana Tech began to make its move. After Fresno State guard Cophie Moore hit a shot to bring Fresno State within 19-18 with 11:05 remaining in the opening half, the Lady Techsters went on a 12-0 run over the next four minutes to grab a 31-18 advantage.
Tech entered the locker room leading 43-28 despite playing without starters Amisha Carter and Tasha Crain who were plagued with foul trouble early in the game.
"I was proud of our first half considering Amisha Carter played only five minutes the entire first half," Budke said. "For us to lead 43-28 with her only playing five minutes was a good solid half."
Fresno State trailed by 15 at the half despite shooting 55 percent from the field and outrebounding the Lady Techsters 21-15; however, 22 first half turnovers (35 for the game) ultimately erased any chance of Fresno State staying close.
"What killed us were 35 turnovers," Johnson-Klein said. "When you commit 35 turnovers, you can have a John Wooden game plan with him on the sideline coaching, and it's not going to work. My hat is off to my team tonight because they played with such heart and spirit, and stepped up to play a Top 10team."
Both teams struggled early in the second half shooting the basketball poorly and committing turnovers as Tech led only 53-42 before hitting 11 of its final 13 shots to pull away.
"I think the major weakness of this team is how we start the second half," Budke said. "We talk about it all the time. Do what you have to do as a player to come out the second half and start the way you ended the first half, because most of the half it is pretty good. That's an area we have to address."
Senior guard Trina Frierson led Tech with 26 points and six rebounds, while Carter finished with 14 points, Amber Obaze scored 12 and Lakiste Barkus 11 in the win.
Fresno State was led by Jasmine Plummer with 15 points, Moore with 12 and Aritta Lane with 10.