Posted Jan 26, 2007 14:12:23
Techsters Host WAC Rival Fresno State
RUSTON – It’s still early in the Western Athletic Conference season, but Saturday night’s game between Louisiana Tech and Fresno State looms large for both teams.
The winner of the contest which is set to tip-off at 7 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center will gain sole possession of third place in the league standings and will be only two games out of first place.
However, the loser, will be a full three games back of WAC-leading Boise State. Tech and Fresno State both sport 4-2 league marks heading into the game.
The Bulldogs (11-8, 4-2) enter the contest following a 69-61 loss at home to Nevada Thursday night in a game that saw Fresno State play without two of its starters.
Guard Tierre Wilson, who left the Nevada game in the first three minutes with a severe ankle sprain, and forward Jenny Thigpin, who was serving a one-game suspension due to a rules violation regarding an enrollment issue.
“Fresno State is an explosive team with two great scorers in (Chantella) Perera and Wilson,” said Tech head coach Chris Long. “Wilson may be the most underrated guard in the country. They are every bit as athletic as we are.
“It will be important to try to contain the two guards while also not letting the others have big nights. We have had some battles over the last couple of years, and I will expect nothing different Saturday night. Both teams rebound and defend well and that may decide the outcome of the game.”
According to Fresno State’s website, the club is expecting both Thigpin and Wilson back for Saturday night although Wilson’s status is still in question.
Perera scored a career-high 33 points in Thursday night’s loss to Nevada and leads the team in scoring, averaging 15.6 points per game. Wilson ranks second at 14.6 while Thigpin is a distant third at 7.2.
Rebounding could be the telling factor as Tech and Fresno State are two of the top teams in the WAC in that category. Tech has outrebounded all six of its WAC opponents this year while Fresno State is a plus 4.0 in rebounding on the season.
Tech leads the all-time series against Fresno State 12-1, including last year’s heated and memorable 70-61 win in Ruston.
A win by Louisiana Tech would position the team to climb back into the conference race as the Lady Techsters head out next week for games at Nevada and Boise State, the two teams currently sitting in first and second place in the league standings.
The contest can be heard on KXKZ-FM 107.5 and seen on WAC.tv with the pregame show starting at 6:30 p.m.