@LATechWBB, Texas Reunite in Old Rivalry
Nov. 29, 2017
AUSTIN, Texas -- For two programs that have only met 10 times ever, Louisiana Tech and Texas have quite the history on the hardwood in women's basketball.
Eight of the 10 meetings have come during the national postseason tournament, although the two programs haven't played in 25 years with the last meeting coming in the second round of the 1993 NCAA Tournament, an 82-78 win by the Lady Techsters.
Tech has won eight straight against Texas, including the last four at the Frank Erwin Center. Five of Tech's eight wins against the Longhorns came in NCAA Regional Finals (1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1990).
The Lady Techsters (4-2) and the No. 2 ranked Longhorns (5-0) will reunite Thursday night with a 7 p.m. tipoff at the Erwin Center. The game can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on KNBB 97.7 FM, KTKC 92.9 FM and KJVC 92.7 FM as well as through the Louisiana Tech X mobile app. The game will be televised on the Longhorn Network and streamed on WatchESPN.
Texas has had little trouble in winning its first five games of the year, ranking No. 1 in the country in scoring (96.4 ppg) and No. 2 in scoring margin (+37.0) with wins over LSU (75-66), Washington (92-68), UTSA (120-70), McNeese State (100-34) and Stetson (95-59). The Longhorns boast 10 McDonald's All-Americans on the roster.
"Texas is very long, very athletic, very deep, very talented; all of the above," said Louisiana Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. "They are No. 2 in the country for a reason. They like to turn you over. They average about 30 points in transition.
"When they get in the half court, they have Jatarie White inside they can go to and score. They have experienced guard play in Brooke McCarty who is the reigning Big 12 player of the year and Ariel Atkins who does a little bit of everything for them. It's going to be a huge challenge for us. For us it's a challenge of will we get better. Will we compete at the right level."
Atkins (13.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.2 apg, 3.2 spg), McCarty (13.4 ppg, 5.6 apg, 4.2 rpg), White (12.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Lashann Higgs (11.6 ppg) lead Texas offensively while another six Longhorns average at least five points per contest. Texas shoots 52 percent from the field and 37 percent from the three-point line and outrebounds its opponents by almost 17 boards a game.
Louisiana Tech is coming off a disappointing performance in a 73-67 loss to Niagara in Las Vegas on Sunday. The Lady Techsters are playing their third P5 opponents in the last four games after a loss to Auburn and a win over Penn State.
Stoehr knows her young team will be in for a challenge but looks forward to seeing them compete against one of the nation's best teams in a tremendous women's basketball environment.
"We want to expose our players to that type of environment because if we do make an NCAA Tournament, at some point our kids are going to have to play a team like Texas," said Stoehr. "I don't want that to be the first time they experience that (type of atmosphere). I think if we are going to try to be the best then we want to compete against the best.
"(Texas fans) are very knowledge of the game. There will be a good crowd there. Karen (Aston) has done a good job there of rejuvenating the fan base. She has recruited very well. Their national freshman of the year isn't even playing right now. It's a great venue."
Stoehr will also be returning to the site of her final game as a Lady Techster player. Tech fell to UC-Santa Barbara 57-56 on a buzzer beater in the first round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament in Austin, also the final game ever coached by legendary Hall of Fame coach Leon Barmore.
"I don't have fond memories (of the Erwin Center) because I lost my last college game there as a senior," said Stoehr. "I haven't had much success personally there, but it's a great opportunity for our team to go in there and see what they can do."
Texas is the highest ranked team that LA Tech has faced since the Lady Techsters fell to top-ranked Tennessee during the 2007-08 season. Tech is 9-10 all-time against the No. 2 ranked team in the country.
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