Jan. 22, 2010
FRESNO, Calif. - The Western Athletic Conference's two preseason favorites will square off Saturday at 7 p.m. CST when Louisiana Tech travels to face Fresno State at the Save Mart Center.
The two programs shared the 2009 Western Athletic Conference regular season title and were both tabbed to finish first and second in the preseason polls prior to the start of this year.
The league coaches picked Fresno State first and LA Tech second while the media reversed the order with the Lady Techsters receiving the most votes followed by the Bulldogs.
And with the exception of an early conference season hiccup by the Lady Techsters in a home loss to Utah State, neither team has done anything to lead people to believe that these aren't the top two teams in the WAC once again.
"I expect some game," said Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon, who is 1-0 in her career against the Bulldogs. "They are playing on their home floor and you are always taught to defend your home. We want to be road warriors. May the strongest will win."
The game pits the two highest scoring teams in the WAC although they both go about their offensive outputs in different ways. Fresno State (14-5, 5-0 WAC) has attempted almost 500 three-pointers on the year as 42 percent of their field goal attempts have come from behind the arc.
Junior guard Jaleesa Ross, who ranks second to LA Tech's Shanavia Dowdell in scoring in the league, is averaging 17.1 points per game and has connected on 61-of-151 three-pointers this year. Ross' 61 three-pointers made is only 11 fewer than the entire total of the Lady Techsters, who have hit 72-of-214 on the year.
Fresno State boasts three players who have hit more three-pointers than LA Tech's leader Whitney Jones, who has hit 23-of-64 on the season.
Dowdell leads the WAC and ranks among the nation's best with nine double doubles on the year, including five in her last seven games. In fact over the last seven games, Dowdell has pulled down 14 or more rebounds an amazing five times.
Dowdell's rebounding has helped the Lady Techsters own WAC opponents this year as LA Tech is a +17.5 in rebounding margin through its first four league games.
Tech leads the all-time series against Fresno State 14-6, including last year's 80-62 victory in Fresno, although the Bulldogs have won five of the last six.
The contest can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on ESPN 97.7 FM and KBYO 92.7 FM with the pregame show beginning at 6:30 p.m.