Tech Defense Saves Day
Posted Feb 28, 2006 01:05:00
MOSCOW, Idaho – Nineteenth-ranked Louisiana Tech used a 14-0 run over the final 9:11 of the game to down Idaho 55-40 before 876 fans at the Cowan Spectrum Monday night.
With the victory, Tech (22-4, 14-1) clinched at least a share of its fifth straight Western Athletic Conference title, its 14th straight regular season conference title counting its days in the Sun Belt Conference.
Leading only 41-40 after a pair of free throws by Idaho’s Jessica Summers at the 9:11 mark of the second half, the Lady Techsters held the Vandals (8-18, 4-11 WAC) to 0-for-7 shooting and six turnovers down the stretch.
The defensive performance by Tech was highlighted by holding Idaho’s Emily Faurholt, who led the country in scoring as a sophomore and who entered the game averaging 17.8 points per game, to a career low five points on 2-of-10 shooting.
“There is no doubt we struggled offensively tonight,” said Tech head coach Chris Long. “However, defensively, we executed our game plan flawlessly. Idaho is an extremely difficult team to defend because of those two great scorers, but we held them to a season low in points.”
Tech hit only 32 percent (22-68) of its field goals for the game, including only 23 percent (7-31) in the second half. Lady Techster guards Aarica Ray-Boyd and Shan Moore both struggled shooting, each hitting on only 5-of-18 field goals for the game but the duo came through in the clutch.
Leading 43-40, Ray-Boyd drilled a three-pointer at the 6:26 mark and then on Tech’s next possession, Moore completed a conventional three-point play on a fast break. After an Idaho turnover, Ray-Boyd hit another three pointer ending a 9-0 run in just over one minute of play and giving Tech a 52-40 lead.
“Aarica hit a couple of long three-pointers for us and Shan did a nice job of finishing at the bucket,” Long said. “That was an important stretch because it gave us some breathing room.”
Moore finished the scoring for Tech with another conventional three-point play off an inbounds pass with 3:52 to play. Moore led Tech with 13 points while Ray-Boyd added 12 points.
Junior forward Ty Moore was the catalyst for Tech’s defensive effort, holding Faurholt in check while also registering her ninth double double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go along with a career-high five steals.
After scoring the first six points of the game, Tech saw Idaho take a 14-10 lead on a Leilani Mitchell three-pointer at the 13:13 mark of the opening stanza. The two teams battled to a 22-22 tie at the 4:32 mark of the first half before the Lady Techsters used a 13-0 run to grab what appeared to be a commanding 35-22 lead.
However, Mitchell nailed a three-pointer as the first half buzzer sounded as Tech entered the locker room leading 35-25.
Tech began the second half hitting only 3-of-18 shots as Idaho began cutting into the lead.
Mitchell led Tech with 16 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, four blocks and four steals in 40 minutes of action.
Louisiana Tech will wrap up its regular season Saturday when the Lady Techters host Hawaii at 7 p.m.