FRISCO, Texas – Almost one year to the day from when Louisiana Tech opened last year’s league championships with an impressive win, the Lady Techsters will face Marshall this afternoon at 2 in the first round of the 2021 Air Force Reserve Conference USA Women’s Basketball Championships presented by Baylor Scott & White Medical Center.
The contest can be heard on KNBB 99.3 FM and will be streamed on ESPN+.
Tech (13-9, 8-8 C-USA) takes on Marshall (8-10, 7-9 C-USA), one of the hottest teams in Conference USA over the past three weekends. The Thundering Herd have recorded wins against both the East Division champion (Middle Tennessee) and the West Division Champion (Rice) while also knocking off the West’s No. 3 seed in North Texas.
“They are playing really well right now if you look at who they have played over the last three weeks,” said LA Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “They split with Rice, North Texas and Middle Tennessee. So obviously if you are doing that then you can compete with the best in the league and can go out and beat anybody.
“They probably feel confident in that regard. We feel confident in who we are and how we are playing. We haven’t gotten a lot of games in the last few weeks, but I do I feel like we have gotten a lot of good work in with our scout guys in practice. We are just trying to stay in a rhythm and routine.”
Tech and Marshall met in the opening weekend of Conference USA play on Jan. 1 and 2 in Huntington, W.V., and split the two-game series. Tech won the opener 61-51 in overtime while Marshall bounced back to take the second game 61-57. However, those games were more than two months ago.
“I think if you asked both myself and (Marshall coach) Tony (Kemper) that we would both say we are completely different teams now,” said Stoehr. “I know they have improved and I feel like we definitely have as well. Going back and watching those two games they were pretty ugly. Both teams played really hard but they were coming off a COVID break and a Christmas break. They had only played two non-conference games.
“For us it felt like it was an early non-conference game where we didn’t have a chance to see much film on them. They are playing some different players than what we saw at that point and we are too. I think we both have figured out how we need to play in order to be successful.”
The winner of Wednesday’s contest will advance to face Middle Tennessee on Thursday at 2 p.m.
“I feel really good about where we are,” said Stoehr. “For the most part I feel like over the last month the team is trending in the right way. We are defending really well and rebounding. We are starting to score the ball better. We have to do a really good job of not taking the first available shot. I think we have done that recently. I really like where we are. Mentally I like where this team is.”
Photo: by Darrell James