The Louisiana Tech basketball teams each recorded a gritty win at the Conference USA Tournament in Frisco, Texas, but each suffered a heartbreaking loss to the eventual champion.
For the Bulldogs, it was a 54-48 loss to North Texas that sent them home. However, the team learned Sunday night they will head back to Frisco to participate in the National Invitation Tournament.
At Monday’s press conference, Dunkin’ Dogs head coach Eric Konkol talked about the team’s excitement to play in the postseason.
“Any chance of being able to extend our season, extend our time together and compete, is a great thing,” Konkol said. “Of the teams that have been invited to play in postseason with the NCAA and NIT, it is only about 16 percent of all Division I. We feel a great sense of pride in our program, getting to represent Louisiana Tech and Conference USA in the National Invitation Tournament.”
The Bulldogs will take on Ole Miss in the first round of the 16-team field. The matchup will take place at 8 p.m. Friday at the Comerica Center and will be televised on ESPN2.
Playing SEC teams is nothing new to LA Tech. In fact, the ‘Dogs have experience knocking off SEC teams, like last season’s win at Mississippi State and the victories over Georgia and Texas A&M in the NIT in recent years.
Konkol said the team can lean on that experience to know what it takes to win against teams like the Rebels.
“I think we lean on experience very much and we have all year long,” Konkol said. “You look at the guys that have been in this program for a number of years, they have experienced winning on the road against some high-profile teams. Those experiences, and even the ones in our league this season, have made us battle tested.”
As for the Lady Techsters, their season came to an end with a 77-71 loss to Middle Tennessee. Head coach Brooke Stoehr said the team was not ready for the season to be over, but was proud of the way they competed.
“I am really proud of their effort,” Stoehr said. “We liked our matchups, but we knew every game was going to be tough. In a very physical game against Marshall, our defense was solid. I thought we competed really well against Middle Tennessee, too. We were right there with 20 seconds and down just three with a chance to tie. (I) loved the way our players competed.”
One player that really shined for the Lady Techsters was sophomore forward Anna Larr Roberson. The Ruston native and Cedar Creek product averaged 20.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in the two C-USA Tournament games at The Star. Stoehr said she is excited about Roberson’s future with the program.
“I look at what she has done two years in a row in Frisco,” Stoehr said. “Her thing is going to be how do you view yourself and where do you want to take this. I think she has a great chance to turn into a great player in this league. She has had some big games and some big moments.”
Photo courtesy of Conference USA.