Techsters/Tennessee Tangle at TAC
Updated Dec 15, 2004 15:01:08
RUSTON - Although Louisiana Tech might be struggling early in the year, Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt isn't buying the fact that the voters don't think the Lady Techsters are a Top 25 caliber team.
Summitt, who will bring her No. 9 ranked team into the Thomas Assembly Center for a 6:30 p.m. tip Wednesday night, knows how difficult the game will be.
"Louisiana Tech is a tough place to play," Summitt said. "I am a little surprised (that they are not in the Top 25), but La Tech is dangerous and is a team that comes on very strong. If you watch what they have done in the past, this is not totally uncharacteristic."
If anyone should know about Louisiana Tech's past tendencies its Summitt, whose program has faced off against the Lady Techsters 36 previous times with UT holding a 19-17 advantage in the series.
The game will match two teams who have faced similar offensive shortcomings this season as Tech enters the contest averaging 68.3 points per game and shooting 39 percent from the field while Tennessee is scoring only 64.1 points per game and shooting 38 percent.
"Playing Tennessee always gives you a good indication of where you are as a team," said Tech head coach Kurt Budke. "They are a great measuring stick. They have the greatest coach in the country and some of the greatest talent."
With both teams struggling to score, Budke knows that the rebounding war will be critical if his team is to be successful against a much taller Tennessee team that's average height is 6-foot-1.
"It's painfully obvious that our weaknesses are inside scoring and rebounding," Budke said. "Against Tennessee, that could lead to a long night if we don't improve. We have to get more production in the paint."
Much of the Tech problem down low can be attributed to the youth of the Techster post players as Ty Moore, Tamika Kursh, Tashia Combs, Margaret Deciman, Tiffany Thompson and Tia Lawson had combined for only one career start entering the season.
The six-some are combining to average only 19.4 points and 16.5 rebounds a game, a huge dropoff from last year's inside numbers of 40.8 points and 23.6 boards.
Tech is just two days removed from a come-from-behind 62-61 win over Alcorn State while the Lady Vols defeated DePaul 78-63 Sunday in Knoxville.
The first 5,000 Tech fans in attendance will receive free Lady Techster Spirit Towels while the crowd will be entertained at halftime by America's Best Frisbee Dogs.
The game can be heard on KXKZ-FM 107.5 and via the Internet at www.z1075fm.com with the pregame show starting at 6 p.m.