Nov. 8, 2012
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Louisiana Tech heads south to open its season as Teresa Weatherspoonand the Lady Techsters travel to the Big Easy to face preseason Conference USA favorite Tulane Friday at 7 p.m. at Devlin Fieldhouse.
The game will be broadcast live on the LA Tech Sports Network, including KNBB 97.7 FM (Ruston/Monroe) and KTKC 92.9 FM (Springhill) with the pregame show beginning at 6:30 p.m. Fans can also access the audio of the game via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at www.latechsports.com.
Weatherspoon and Co. head into the contest with a roster that includes more newcomers than returners and the fifth-year head coach said that she has high expectations but also understands that there will be challenges early in the season with such a young team.
"We have a lot of growing to do," Weatherspoon said. "We are making strides and that is positive. We are coming to work every day to learn and get better. We are moving in a positive direction. We are preparing ourselves for Tulane. They are always a well-coached team."
Sophomore Whitney Frazieris the lone starter that returns from last year's team which finished 17-15 and ended the season with a loss to Fresno State in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament championship game. Frazier led Tech with 22 points in its 95-25 exhibition win over Mississippi College, one week after struggling in a closed scrimmage against Stephen F. Austin.
"The scrimmage against Stephen F. Austin was a learning experience for our seven newcomers; they were not sure what to expect," Weatherspoon said. "We weren't a team ... we were individuals. It opened the eyes of our players. In the exhibition game, we shared the ball very well. We were unselfish. We were good defensively, aggressive from the beginning."
Although the Techsters shot 65 percent from the floor in the win over MC, it was on the defensive end that Weatherspoon was most pleased.
"I'm always concerned about the defensive end," Weatherspoon said. "We have to be able to stop the other team and teak them out of their comfort zone. We have to stop them from what they want to do."
Tulane was 23-11 last season and returns four starters and 10 letter winners as the Green Wave were tabbed as the preseason favorite to capture this year's C-USA title. Head coach Lisa Stockton will rely heavily on senior guard Olivia Grayson, who averaged 13.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while earning first team all-CUSA honors as a junior.
"I believe she is probably one of the most underrated players in our conference and probably in our region," Stockton said of Grayson. "She's been a part of a successful program here for the last three years and played a major part in that. I think she's a player who should be in contention for Player of the Year at the end of the season if she has the kind of season we believe she can have."
The Green Wave were tough at home last year, sporting a 14-2 mark in Devlin Fieldhouse (formerly Fogleman Arena). However, despite the challenge of playing Tulane on its home floor, Weatherspoon said she is glad her team is opening up on the road.
"There is less distractions on road," Weatherspoon said. "I don't mind (opening away from home). I think we are all just happy we are about to play. That energizes our kids. They are excited about being on the road. In order to be a good basketball team, you have to be able to win on the road."
Tech leads the all-time series against Tulane 8-1, although the Green Wave recorded their first win ever against the Lady Techsters with a 61-52 victory last year in Ruston.
Fans can follow in-game updates through Twitter by following @LATechWBB.