March 6, 2012
LAS VEGAS, Nevada - As the No. 3 seed in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, Louisiana Tech should enter its first round matchup against 6th-seeded Hawaii as the favorite Wednesday when the two teams tip off at 2 p.m. CT at the Orleans Arena.
However, the regular season results between the two teams might suggest otherwise. Hawaii (11-18, 6-8 WAC) swept the Lady Techsters (15-14, 8-6) in the two games, defeating LA Tech 61-46 on the island on Jan. 19 and 61-49 in Ruston on Feb. 18.
And although Tech leads the all-time series 24-5, this year's version of the Rainbow Wahine have found a way to do what no other UH team has ever done - beat LA Tech twice in the same season. On Wednesday, UH will try to pull off its own version of the trifecta in Las Vegas.
LA Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon said that regardless of whether her team is the favorite or the underdog entering the week, she isn't worried about anything but their performance.
"It's good (not having the bulls eye on our back)," Weatherspoon said. "It doesn't matter if we came in 1, 2, 3, 4 or 8th. What we want to do is come in and play good basketball no matter what anyone else thinks. We have to have that burning desire to go out and play the way we are capable of playing."
In the two wins over Louisiana Tech, Hawaii has held the Lady Techsters to their two lowest offensive outputs of the season - 46 and 49 points.
"Each time we got off to a slow start and dug ourselves a hole," Weatherspoon said. "They play a sagging type of defense. I think after we played in Hawaii (the first time) we had a better understanding. We had open shots in both games, but we just didn't knock them down. We didn't play or shoot with a great deal of confidence."
The tournament will be an opportunity for five Lady Techster seniors to make one final push for their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance as Jasmine Bendolph, Shantale Bramble-Donaldson, Angie Felton, Whitney Jones and Kiara Young will be leading LA Tech into the week's action.
This will mark the 11th Western Athletic Conference Tournament for LA Tech, which has won five tournament titles in the previous 10 years. Tech is 20-5 all-time in WAC Tournament games and has only lost one time in the first round, a defeat to New Mexico State in Las Cruces in the 2007 Tournament.
The contest can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network with the pregame show beginning at 1:30 p.m. Fans can also access the LA Tech Sports Network audio through a subscription to LA Tech All-Access on www.latechsports.com. Fans can also purchase a subscription to WAC.TV at www.wacsports.com and can access both audio and video of the tournament games.
For all the latest updates throughout the game on twitter, fans should follow @LATechMbutler.