Bulldogs get a homecourt encore tonight at 7

After having an unintentional bye week, the Louisiana Tech basketball teams have a regularly-scheduled one as the Conference USA schedule concludes this weekend.

But the Bulldogs have added a home non-conference game tonight on Karl Malone Court at the Thomas Assembly Center, hastily hosting Our Lady of the Lake at 7 p.m. in a contest added Monday.

Admission is free as the Dunkin’ Dogs shoot for their 20th win this season. The Lady Techster seniors, denied their senior weekend when the winter storm wiped out the Middle Tennessee series, will be spotlighted at halftime.

After being idled by weather, the LA Tech teams returned to action last weekend against Rice in their final regular-season conference games of the season. The men twice overpowered the Owls in Ruston while the women faltered in the second halves to drop two in Houston.

At Tuesday’s weekly press conference, sixth-year Bulldogs coach Eric Konkol said he was pleased with how the Bulldogs (19-6) handled the long layoff.

“It was so unique to us to have that much time in-between games going into even before the season began,” said Konkol. “Concerned about that, just with how the guys would respond, but we did have good practices. I was really pleased with our performance. We had contributions from many different guys that made a difference in the ball games. It was a total team effort from everybody.”

Fifth-year Lady Techsters coach Brooke Stoehr knew going on the road to play a Rice team that has not lost a game at home since 2018 was going to be a difficult task.

“I told our team in the locker room, we did not play poorly,” said Stoehr. “We did some really good things. We struggled to score in the third quarter both days. We defended well. We were right there and just could not find enough points.

“I am pleased with their efforts. You do not want to end on a loss, obviously, to end the regular season. But, you’re also playing a difficult team on the road in back-to-back days. I was pleased with how we competed.”

For the Lady Techsters (13-9), the next game will come on March 10 in the first round of the C-USA Tournament. Stoehr said going back to Frisco, Texas next week has already brought up memories of how last season’s tourney was cancelled just minutes before they played in the quarterfinals.

“I thought about it on the bus home the other night about turning the page and getting our prep going into Frisco,” said Stoehr. “It is going to be a weird, strange feeling walking back in there. We will talk about it as a group before we go again, but there will be some emotion, too, from some of our kids. They are excited, but there will be some weird emotions. This is what teams play for all year long: to set up for March.”

The Bulldogs are excited to have one more homecourt showcase as they host the San Antonio-based Our Lady of the Lake Saints tonight. Konkol is excited to have another outing to avoid more cobwebs.

“If we had not gotten this game, we essentially would have had a 25-day period where we just played two games and those would have been back-to-back,” said Konkol. “We will still get ample rest after tomorrow’s game. We are just trying to keep that going. Finding a team that fit was important to us and we were glad we were able to do it.”

Photo: Darrell James

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