Aug. 14, 2012
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon has never backed down from a challenge and this year her Lady Techster basketball team will face plenty of them during the non-conference portion of their schedule.
Tech's 11-game non-conference slate features five of its match-ups against Southeastern Conference foes, including home tilts with South Carolina and Ole Miss and road games against LSU, Texas A&M and Mississippi State.
The remaining six non-conference contests are against Big East foe Rutgers in a game that will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York, road matchups against future CUSA mate Tulane and Sun Belt Conference Tournament champion UALR, and three home tilts against 20-game winners in Central Arkansas, McNeese State and Oral Roberts.
"We felt like we need to be tested early," Weatherspoon said. "We are talented, and we want to compete against some of the best. We want to find out where we are and where we need to get better. Competing against this type of early season schedule will help us do that.
"These are some amazing, talented teams that we will be playing against. We felt it was important to face a strong non-conference schedule in order to ultimately accomplish our team goals which include earning an NCAA Tournament berth."
Tech opens the season Nov. 9 in New Orleans against the Green Wave in what will turn into a conference game next year when the Lady Techsters join CUSA in an all-sports move by the University. Weatherspoon and Co. then return home to host Dawn Staley and the South Carolina Gamecocks on Nov. 12 in the first of 14 regular season home games.
"We have some great home games against BCS teams like South Carolina and Ole Miss," Weatherspoon said. "My good friend Dawn Staley, who has done some wonderful things for women's basketball, will be bringing her team to Ruston. I hope our fans come out and support our ladies in what should be a great game."
Weatherspoon will make a homecoming of sorts on Dec. 9 when she leads her team into Madison Square Garden - the site of many memorable moments during her seven-year career with the New York Liberty - to face Hall of Fame coach Vivian Stringer and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who defeated LA Tech in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
In-state rival LSU will host the Lady Techsters on Dec. 16 in Baton Rouge while Tech's last non-conference matchup comes in the middle of Western Athletic Conference play when it travels to face UALR on Jan. 30.
The Lady Techsters will play an 18-game league slate as the Western Athletic Conference will have a new look this year with the departures of Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada and the additions of Seattle, Denver, Texas State, Texas-Arlington and UTSA.
Tech opens WAC play on the road with games at Denver (Dec. 29) and NMSU (Dec. 31) with its first home league contest slated for Jan. 5 against Texas-Arlington.
The 2013 WAC Tournament will be held March 13-16 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. For all the latest on Lady Techster basketball log onto www.latchsports.com or follow them on Twitter through @latechwbb and @latechmbutler.