LA Tech weekend hoops roundup

Lady Techsters 72, North Texas 60 

Denton, Texas – The Louisiana Tech women’s basketball team responded in a big way on the road in Denton, Texas Saturday night taking down the North Texas Mean Green 72-60 inside The Super Pit.

Fueled by four Lady Techsters in double figures including a career-high 17 points from sophomore point guard Salma Bates (5-8 FG, 6-6 FT), Louisiana Tech (11-8, 3-5 C-USA) kept pace in a very entertaining back-and-forth game with North Texas (8-9, 2-5 C-USA) for three quarters and eventually pulled away over the final six minutes of the contest.

“I’m incredibly proud of the grit and toughness this team showed today on the road,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “We had really good balance offensively and huge contributions from the bench. Amaya and Robyn stepped up big time for us especially in the second quarter when Keiunna and Anna Larr were in foul trouble.

“Salma was so solid today and was aggressive when we needed her to be. We were connected defensively and communicated very well. The job we did on the boards against a talented North Texas group today was critical to being able to secure the road win. We have to learn and grow from this experience like we have in the previous weeks and keep building.”

The Lady Techsters got an early spark off the bench from freshman Amaya Brannon who scored seven of her nine points in the first six minutes to give the Tech a 12-6 lead.

North Texas made their first response of the night putting together a 12-1 run over the next six minutes to take the lead 18-17 with 8:35 to play in the half.

The two teams spent the rest of the half exchanging blows and trading buckets as Bates closed the second quarter nailing three at the buzzer making it a one-point game (34-33) at the break.

The Techsters again closed a quarter strong with a 5-0 run in the final minute of the third thanks from a three from Keiunna Walker and another last second bucket off a designed play for Anna Larr Roberson. Tech led 53-49 going into the final ten minutes.

The two teams remained locked until the final six minutes when Walker took control and played the role of closer scoring nine of her game-high 19 in the final minutes of the fourth. Bates then add some insurance hitting all four of her three-throws down the stretch to end any hopes of a North Texas comeback.

In their best shooting night of conference play, the Techsters finished 26-59 (.509) including 5-11 from three and hit nine of their 11 free-throws.

The Techsters defense also responded tonight holding North Texas to 10 points and 12 rebounds under their season averages.

Sophomore Robyn Lee added 12 points joining Walker, Bates, and Roberson in double figures.

Tech will host Florida Atlantic Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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North Texas 63, Bulldogs 62

RUSTON – Louisiana Tech fell in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday afternoon as North Texas hit a game-winning three in the final seconds to come away with a 63-62 decision inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.

“It was a game of runs,” said Tech head coach Eric Konkol. “They had a run early, then we had a run.  We started the second half out well, but then the game changes, gets into a grind like we knew it would. 

LA Tech (16-5, 7-2 C-USA) exploded early in the second half, going on a 15-0 run that featured three straight three-pointers – one by Exavian Christon and two by Keaston Willis – to go up 48-31.

North Texas (15-4, 8-1 C-USA) battled back though, countering with a 10-0 run and eventually getting its deficit down to two at 62-60 with 1:40 to go.

Facing one of the best defenses in the country, the Bulldogs went ice cold from the field, making only one field goal in the final 10 minutes of the game.  They were converting from the free throw line though, making 22 of their 26 attempts.

It appeared as though Kenneth Lofton, Jr., who had another sensational game with 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block – was going to go back to the foul line as he had two shot attempts missed in the paint on a double team.

No foul was called and the Mean Green called a timeout with 20 seconds to play (and 18 ticks on the shot clock). 

Tylor Perry, who was just 1-of-7 from the field going into the final possession, missed his seventh shot – a three from the corner.  However, Thomas Bell pulled down the offensive rebound and kicked it back out to Perry who did not miss his eighth, making a three to go up one with about five seconds left.

Amorie Archibald had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but his three-point attempt was off the mark.

“Like games we have had with North Texas, it came down to the stretch and they made one more play than we did,” said Konkol. “This is life in the West Division in Conference USA.  This is a tough one today for us.  We are going to have to find a way to grow from it.” 

The Bulldogs will travel to Boca Raton to face Florida Atlantic Thursday.

Photo: Kyle Kavanaugh

 

 


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