Dec. 8, 2012
NEW YORK - Teresa Weatherspoon knows Madison Square Garden.
The Louisiana Tech head coach spent seven of her eight WNBA seasons playing home games at the historic arena for the New York Liberty.
On Sunday, the former five-time WNBA All-Star leads her Lady Techster team into MSG as they face Rutgers at 10 a.m. CT in the first game of the 2012 Maggie Dixon Classic.
"It means a lot to me that they asked us to come be a part of the Maggie Dixon Classic," Weatherspoon said. "It's a great thing. I want people to understand it has nothing to do with me. I am simply returning to a place that I love dearly and that was so kind to me not only as a player but as a person.
"I want our kids to experience what it is like to play at Madison Square Garden. I want them to understand its history. They can leave their mark at a truly historical place. We are also going to be playing a very good basketball team. This all should be extra motivation to want to walk off that floor having left everything on it. I want our kids to experience something different by playing here."
On Saturday, Weatherspoon and Co. spent two hours on the floor as the Lady Techsters shook off the "wow factor" of the arena while game-planning for the Scarlet Knights, who are led by Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer.
The Rutgers women's basketball team snapped a two-game skid with a 58-32 win over LIU Brooklyn as the Scarlet Knights will be making their fifth appearance at the Maggie Dixon Classic and 15th appearance at MSG.
Rutgers center Monique Oliver scored a game-high 18 points en-route to reaching the 1,000 career point mark Thursday night against LIU Brooklyn and leads the Knights at 12.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Classmate Erica Wheeler is next on the stat sheet at 10.6 points per game along with 2.7 assists and 2.9 steals per contest.
Weatherspoon and her young squad will be looking to rebound from its lopsided loss at 25th ranked Texas A&M Tuesday night in College Station.
The game will mark the fourth time that LA Tech and Rutgers have met at Madison Square Garden with the previous three meetings coming in the early 1980s in the Manufacturer's Hanover Tournament with the Lady Techsters winning those three games.
"It's special," said Weatherspoon, who was inducted into the NY Liberty Ring of Honor in 2011. "It is by far the best place in the world to play basketball. There is no feeling like playing in that place simply because of the history of it and the excitement and the enthusiasm of the fans."
Tech leads the all-time series 3-1 as the Scarlet Knights defeated the Lady Techsters 76-51 in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament at CenturyTel Arena in Bossier City.
The contest can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network including KNBB 97.7 FM (Ruston), KTKC 92.9 FM (Springhill) and KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield) with the pregame show beginning at 9:30 a.m. Fans can access the live audio through a subscription to LA Tech All-Access at www.LATechSports.com.