March 8, 2012
LAS VEGAS - After defeating Hawaii Wednesday, Louisiana Tech advanced to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals where the Lady Techsters will face Utah State Friday at 2 p.m. CT at the Orleans Arena.
The winner of Friday's game will face the winner of Fresno State and Idaho in Saturday's championship game.
Tech (16-14) defeated Hawaii 63-54 Wednesday behind 20 points from Jasmine Bendolph and 11 points and 13 rebounds from Shantale Bramble-Donaldson. However, it was the Lady Techsters defensive effort against the Rainbow Wahine and a season-low eight turnovers that proved to be the deciding factor in the outcome.
The Lady Techsters won despite shooting an all-time conference tournament program low 32 percent in the game. However, Tech hit 18-of-21 free throws and held Hawaii to only 32 percent shooting as well while outscoring the Rainbow Wahine 19-6 on points off of turnovers.
If the first two meetings of the year between Tech and Utah State are any indication, Friday's matchup will probably be more about offense. The two teams split the regular season series with Utah State winning 79-62 in Ruston and Tech winning 82-76 in Logan.
Utah State shot above 50 percent from the field against Tech in both games - something no other WAC team accomplished even one time against the Lady Techsters this year.
The Aggies are the WAC's top offensive team, shooting 44 percent from the field and averaging 73.0 points per game. They boast a lethal trifecta of guards Devyn Christensen (15.4 ppg, 61 three-pointers) and Brooke Jackson (11.7 ppg, 45 three-pointers) and forward Ashlee Brown (14.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 100 assists).
The trio combined to score 50 points in the Aggies opening round 75-66 win over Nevada as Brown just barely missed her first career triple double, finishing with 17 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. Utah State is without its fourth leading scorer in Maddy Plunkett (10.2 ppg, 36 three-pointers) who is out for the year with an injury.
The game will be televised on the WAC Sports Network. The contest can also be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network with the pregame show beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Fans can also follow all the updates on Twitter by following @LATechMButler.