Posted Nov 10, 2006 09:41:16
Techsters Look for Win No. 900
RUSTON – Plenty will be at stake Saturday night when Louisiana Tech hosts Western Kentucky at the Thomas Assembly Center at 7 p.m.
For starters, the Lady Techsters will be opening season No. 2 under head coach Chris Long and will be looking for a little payback after last year’s 80-59 loss at Western Kentucky.
But maybe even more importantly, this year’s Tech team will be searching for a milestone victory as it would mark the 900th win in the program’s 33-year history.
“It’s an honor to be coaching Louisiana Tech when we achieve this milestone,” Long said. “There were so many great teams, great players and great coaches that laid the groundwork to make this possible. We will only be the second program in the history of women’s college basketball to achieve this milestone.
"We would rather reach this milestone sooner than later but we are going to have to play a great basketball game to beat Western Kentucky.”
No. 900 won’t come easy as Western Kentucky returns the majority of a team that posted a 27-7 mark last year, and advanced to the semifinals of the WNIT before falling by one point to eventual champion Kansas State. They return four starters and seven letter winners from that team.
The Lady Toppers, who served as Tech’s top rival during their ten years in the Sun Belt Conference together, boast one of the top post players in the country in junior Crystal Kelly.
Kelly, a 6-foot-3-inch preseason Wooden Award Watch List member, averaged 20.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season while shoot over 60 percent from the field. In her two career games against Louisiana Tech, Kelly has averaged 25.5 points and 12.0 rebounds including scoring 29 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in her only trip to the Thomas Assembly Center as a true freshman.
“I think she is definitely one of the top three post players in the country,” Long said. “She may not get the recognition but without a doubt she is a tremendous player. She leaps as well as anyone in the country with perhaps the best hands I’ve seen in a long time.”
Louisiana Tech counters with a team that won 26 games a year ago, but lost two key components in four-year starting point guard Tasha Williams and sharpshooter Aarica Ray-Boyd.
Although true freshman Tiawana Pringle will make her first career start, the Techsters have plenty of experience on the floor with seniors Ty Moore, Tamika Kursh, Shan Moore and Amber Metoyer all getting the nod.
“Our four seniors are going to have to lead this basketball team,” Long said. “On the floor and off the floor. They’ve been through some battles, and I think they all know what it takes to win.”
The game can be heard on KXKZ-FM 107.5 and via the Internet at www.z1075fm.com with the pre-game show starting at 6:30 p.m. Tech fans worldwide can also watch the game streamed over the Internet for $5.95 by logging onto www.wac.tv.
Tickets for the game can be purchased for as low as $5 for children and $8 for adults with courtside seats priced at $15 and $20.