Techsters Defense Too Much for Hawaii
Updated Feb 13, 2004 09:52:50
RUSTON - Growing pains have never hurt so much for Hawaii head coach Vince Goo.
The 17-year Rainbow Wahine head coach has experienced plenty of ups and downs this year with a young squad consisting of only one senior and two juniors. However, any previous pains were like a pin prick compared to what Louisiana Tech put the Rainbow Wahine through Thursday night at the Thomas Assembly Center in an 83-45 win before 3,629.
The sixth-ranked Lady Techsters (18-2, 11-1) scored the games first 12 points and never looked back in registering their 13th straight win over Hawaii and their 10th straight victory since an early January setback against Rice.
Head coach Kurt Budke's squad administered an early full court press and eventually forced Hawaii into a season-high 29 turnovers while handing the Rainbow Wahine its fourth loss in a row and its most lopsided of the season.
"We knew how much of their offense comes off of their defense," Goo said. "And that is exactly what happened tonight. People look at the points they score and how good they are offensively, but the key to Tech is their defense. When a team plays good defense like that, it means they have real dedicated players and real good coaching. They have impressed me for a long time now."
Tech jumped out to a 12-0 advantage in the game's first five minutes thanks to five early turnovers by Hawaii and an early dose of senior forward Amisha Carter, who scored eight of the Lady Techsters first 10 points. After Hawaii forward Jade Abel finally put the Rainbow Wahine on the scoreboard with a three-pointer at the 15:27 mark of the first half, the Techsters quickly pushed the advantage out to 20 at 28-8 before entering the halftime locker room leading 45-17.
The Lady Techsters tenacious man to man defense forced 17 first half turnovers which led to some easy buckets and 59 percent shooting (19-32) in the opening half.
"I thought our defense early took (Hawaii) out of anything (it) wanted to do early," Budke said. "When we played them (earlier this year in Honolulu) we figured out (they wanted to slow the game down). So we put the full court press on right away tonight, and it paid off."
Senior guard Amber Obaze scored a game-high 17 points, hitting 7 of 9 field goals including a career-high tying 3 three-pointers, while Carter added 15 points and eight rebounds. Lakiste Barkus and Shan Moore came off the Tech bench to add nine points each while Moore also recorded five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Hawaii, which shot only 35 percent for the game, was led by Abel with 14 points while five different Rainbow Wahine players recorded four or more turnovers during the game.
"We average 14 turnovers a game, but it wasn't the turnovers as much as it was Louisiana Tech," Goo said. "They put defensive pressure on us, especially in the first half. They are amazingly quick and very well drilled defensively. I think a lot of the credit needs to go to them; we just had problems running our offense."
Tech shot 53 percent (35-66) for the game and became only Hawaii's second opponent in the last 81 games to shot better than 50 percent from the field for the game.
The Lady Techsters return to action Saturday night when they host San Jose State at 6:30 p.m.