Jan. 10, 2014
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech welcomes one of the preseason Conference USA favorites Saturday when the Lady Techsters host Middle Tennessee at 5 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center.
The contest will be the first of a women's-men's basketball doubleheader at the TAC as the Bulldogs will host FIU in a game that will tipoff 30 minutes after the completion of the Lady Techster tilt.
Tech (5-9, 0-1 C-USA) dropped its league opener Wednesday night, falling 67-56 to Southern Mississippi in Ruston. Middle Tennessee (12-3, 1-0 C-USA) easily prevailed in its Conference USA debut, defeating North Texas 86-42 in Murfreesboro.
In its 44-point win Wednesday night, the Blue Raiders - who have spent the past 13 years as a member of the Sun Belt Conference - received a record-setting performance from senior center KeKe Stewart. The 6-foot-1 Oak Ridge, Tennessee native scored 35 points while setting school and conference records with 11 three-pointers made and 26 three-pointers attempted.
Despite Stewart's eye-popping numbers, she isn't even Middle Tennessee's top threat. Senior forward Ebony Rowe is one of the top players in league, averaging 22.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per contest while shooting 57 percent from the field. Rowe is tied for the league lead with Rice's Jessica Kuster with 12 double doubles.
Middle Tennessee ranks No. 1 in the league in scoring defense (55.4 ppga) despite playing a non-conference schedule that included games against Tennessee, Kentucky, Miami, Arkansas, Clemson and Mississippi State. The Blue Raiders are also limiting their opponents to a 36 percent field goal percentage.
Louisiana Tech counters with a lineup that includes three double digit scorers in Whitney Frazier (15.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg), Chrisstasia Walter (13.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and JaQuan Jackson (12.8 ppg, 27 three-pointers). Frazier, who ranks fourth in C-USA in rebounding, has registered five double doubles in her last seven games while Walter leads the league and ranks fifth nationally in steals per game at 3.2.
Tech leads the all-time series against Middle Tennessee 4-0, including a 3-0 record in Ruston. The two teams haven't met since 2000-2001 when the Lady Techsters defeated the Blue Raiders twice in Sun Belt Conference action.
Saturday will be Military Appreciation Day at the Thomas Assembly Center as all military members can purchase tickets for only $5. Following the men's contest, a kids friendly bootcamp will be conducted on the floor of the TAC by members of the Louisiana Tech ROTC program.
The game can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on KNBB 97.7 FM and KTKC 92.9 FM with the pregame show starting at 4:30 p.m. Fans can also access audio and video online by purchasing a subscription to LA Tech All-Access at LATechSports.com.
In-game Twitter updates can be followed at @LATechWBB and fans can follow Lady Techster basketball on Facebook by LIKING Facebook.com/LATechWBB.