Feb. 3, 2014
RUSTON - After winning two of its past three games, Louisiana Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon feels her basketball team is starting to gain some confidence.
Tech posted a 71-50 victory over UTSA Saturday night in Ruston in a game that saw the Lady Techsters lead from start to finish.
However, the Lady Techsters (7-13, 2-5 C-USA) have a huge challenge Wednesday night when they travel to the Don Haskins Center to face UTEP (17-4, 6-2 C-USA) at 8 p.m. CT.
"UTEP is a strong basketball team," Weatherspoon said. "They are very well coached, very disciplined. They are very quick, and they use every bit of it to push the basketball and get easy shots. They have a great player in Kayla Thornton who makes things difficult on you. We have to make sure defensively we are on point and are communicating. Those things are important."
Statistically, UTEP doesn't have weaknesses. The Miners ranks first in scoring offense (79.8 ppg) and scoring margin (+14.0 ppg), and are also in the top five in the conference in free throw percentage (4th, .703), field goal percentage (3rd, .417), three-point field goal percentage (2nd, .334), rebounding margin (3rd, +5.0), blocks (2nd, 4.7), assists (3rd, 15.4), steals (3rd, 11.0), turnover margin (3rd, +4.6), offensive rebounds (3rd, 16.0) and three-point field goals made (3rd, 6.1).
"They are a very good basketball team," Weatherspoon said. "They don't do anything outside of what they feel their strengths are. When they put the ball on the floor, they put it on the floor to get to the rim or to find open shooters. We are going to have to be solid defensively and rebound. They are a really good rebounding basketball team."
Thornton, who has earned back-to-back C-USA Player of the Week awards the past two weeks, is one of the top players in the league. The 6-foot-1-inch forward averages 19.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game while shooting 48 percent from the field. She has hit 16 three-pointers on the year and is 99-of-134 from the free throw line.
Louisiana Tech counters with a lineup that consists of four double digit scorers. Junior Whitney Frazier ranks fifth in the league with 10 double doubles and averages 15.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Chrisstasia Walter averages 12.4 points, 5.8 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 steals. JaQuan Jackson, who was named the C-USA Freshman of the Week Monday, averages 11.9 points and 3.3 rebounds and his hit 37 three-pointers on the year. Lulu Perry averages 10.4 points per game.
Tech leads the all-time series against UTEP 9-0 with the previous nine meetings coming when the two programs were members of the Western Athletic Conference.
The game can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on KNBB 97.7 FM, KTKC 92.9 FM and KJVC 92.7 FM with the pregame show starting at 7:30 p.m. Fans can also access audio 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.