Posted Feb 22, 2006 15:09:48
Techsters Host New Mexico State Thursday
RUSTON – Twentieth-ranked Louisiana Tech tries to keep its one-game lead in the race for the Western Athletic Conference regular season title Thursday when the Lady Techsters host New Mexico State at 7 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center.
Tech (20-4, 12-1) holds a one-game lead over second place Fresno State with only three contests remaining, while New Mexico State (7-17, 4-9) is attempting to snap a five-game losing streak.
Head coach Chris Long’s squad has won nine straight games and 15 of its last 16, including a 79-72 win over the Aggies Jan. 21 in Las Cruces, N.M.
“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far but we still haven’t really reached any of our goals,” Long said. “We only have a one game lead (in the conference race) so every game is crucial to not only in the pursuit of a WAC title but also the NCAA Tournament.”
In the first meeting with New Mexico State, Tech held only a two point lead with two minutes remaining before hitting 10-of-10 free throws down the stretch, holding off an Aggies team that hit 10 three-pointers in the game.
During its recent tear, Louisiana Tech, which moved up four places in both the Associated Press and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls this week, has won with defense and a balanced scoring attack.
The Lady Techster have held their last eight opponents to 52.5 points per game and only 31 percent shooting from the field. Meanwhile, Aarica Ray-Boyd (14.1 ppg) and Tasha Williams (13.2 ppg) continue to lead a Tech offense that has scored 70 points or more in nine straight games.
“Defensively, we have come a long way,” Long said. “We are a much better team then even a month ago. The players are really starting to understand and buy into the concepts we are teaching.”
New Mexico State hasn’t won since a 55-48 victory at Utah State Feb. 2 and is coming off a 58-35 loss at San Jose State Saturday. The Aggies, who rank last in the WAC in scoring at 55.7 points per game, haven’t scored more than 46 points in any of its last four games.
Tech leads the all-time series against New Mexico State 2-0.
The contest can be heard on KNBB-FM 99.3 with the pre-game show starting at 6:30 p.m. Tech fans worldwide can also access the game via WAC TV by logging onto www.latechsports.com.