@LATechWBB Prepares For Rivalry Week at TAC

Jan. 25, 2018

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RUSTON -- When legendary Louisiana Tech Hall of Fame coach Leon Barmore was asked this week his opinion on the top rivalries in Lady Techster basketball history, the man who built the Ruston-based program into a national contender for three decades fired off a pretty impressive list.

Tennessee. Stephen F. Austin. Texas. Southern Cal.

All programs that LA Tech battled with during their hay day on a national level.

Barmore also included a pair of current Conference USA programs in Old Dominion and WKU on his list, two teams that will travel to the Thomas Assembly Center this weekend for important league games.

LA Tech (12-7, 3-3 C-USA) hosts ODU (4-16, 2-4 C-USA) Friday at 6:30 p.m. and WKU (14-5, 5-1 C-USA) Sunday at 2 p.m.

Not only will it be "rivalry" weekend at the TAC, it will also be Legend's Day for Sunday's match-up against the Lady Toppers as the University will recognize Barmore's last team at Tech, a 2001-02 squad that included the Lady Techsters current head coach Brooke (Lassiter) Stoehr as a starting guard. Al former LA Tech players, coaches and support staff are invited back for the event which will include a pregame reception at 12:30 p.m. in the Waggonner Room of the TAC.

"I think anytime we can have former players and alumni come back, I think it is great for our players to understand what they are a part of," said Stoehr. "To see who those women are and what they have become since they left Louisiana Tech, it's good for our players. To hear them speak of their time here and what it meant in their lives is good for our players.

"I'm excited because I will get to see some former teammates that I haven't seen in a while. I think it means so much to Coach Barmore and obviously to me leading this program now to have them come back. We always want them to feel like they are important and a big part of what we are trying to do and the legacy that we are trying to carry on."

LA Tech fans have an opportunity to see three of the top 10 winningest programs in the history of women's basketball this weekend in Ruston. LA Tech ranks No. 2 with 1,103, Old Dominion ranks No. 8 with 1,035 and WKU ranks No. 10 with 974 as the three programs have combined to win more than 3,100 games.

Tech leads the all-time series against Old Dominion 16-8, although the Monarchs have won the last two meetings in Ruston, including last year's 69-64 victory at the TAC. Tech and ODU met for the 1979 AIAW National Championship in Greenville, North Carolina -- a game that saw the Monarchs win 75-65.

First year head coach Nikki McCray, former Tennessee Lady Vol (1991-95), is in a rebuilding process with Old Dominion. The Monarchs graduated the Conference USA Player of the Year in Jenni Simms from last year's team and is playing with a very young roster.

"Old Dominion is a little shorthanded on their roster this year from a numbers standpoint," said Stoehr. "They had a coaching turnover during the off-season and had some players graduate and transfer. They are playing well and have won two in a row. We will have to come out and play much better. Our fans have great respect for both of these programs but at the same time it's your typical rivalry. We have educated our players on those rivalries. We will be ready to go, and hopefully we will have two good crowds."

While the Monarchs enter the game on a season-long yet modest two-game winning streak, Louisiana Tech is coming off a two week road trip that saw the Techsters drop three out of four games, including a pair last weekend in Florida.

"We didn't play extremely well," said Stoehr. "Good defense doesn't involve fouling and putting teams on the free throw line. In our three losses in league play, we have put the opponent on the free throw line almost 29 times a game. We have to do a better job of playing defense without fouling.

"Offensively, we have to have more balance. It's hard to play two on five, and we have been playing two on five at times. We have capable scorers, but we need those players be who they are. We have to get them to do it in a game and get more balance so we aren't as easily guarded. Confidence doesn't come from hitting one shot in a game. It's going to come from repetition and the extra work you put in the gym."

Louisiana Tech is 9-1 at home this year, including six straight wins at the TAC, while Old Dominion is 0-6 in true road games.

The contest 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 6 p.m. Fans can also access free audio through the Louisiana Tech X mobile app. A live video stream can be accessed through a paid subscription to CUSATV.com.




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