Walker, Roberson lead Techsters to win

Photo by Kyle Kavanaugh

Louisiana Tech women’s basketball team responded in a big way Sunday to take the third-place game in the UNLV Thanksgiving Tournament with a 71-52 win over George Washington behind Keiunna Walker’s game-high 20 points, which included a 12-13 day from the line. 

Anna Larr Roberson nearly picked up her third double-double of the year with 14 points and nine rebounds. 

“Yesterday was a very tough day for us, but yesterday is over,” said head coach Brooke Stoehr, referring to her team’s loss to Illinois State. “George Washington is a really good team who can really shoot and I was concerned about that, but our defense was really good, and we got contributions from everyone today. I can’t say enough about Kate Thompson and Robyn Lee, they were huge for us and we were able to get Keiunna and Anna Larr going today.”

Sunday inside Cox Pavilion was a game of runs, with LA Tech (5-2) generating a 12-4 spurt out of the gate. George Washington would land their first response of the day with a 10-2 run to finish the first quarter and knot things up at 14 each. 

In the second, the Colonials began to heat up from deep, a team that shoots 39.4 percent on the year, as they went 4-8 from three in the quarter, that included an 11-0 run over four minutes, to take their largest lead of the day at 27-16.

Tech was just 1-9 during the stretch, but it was Tech’s turn to respond as they finished the half on a 12-1 run over the final 3:41 to tie the game back up at 28-28 heading into the halftime break.

Tech extended the run to 16-1, taking a 32-28 lead, but George Washington quickly tied things back up. Kate Thompson soon entered the game and became a force inside, cashing in on back-to-back possessions and scoring five points while grabbing three rebounds and diving on the floor for a loose ball to save a Techsters’ possession.

Thompson’s effort fueled another 10-4 Tech run over the final 4:40 to give the Techsters a nine-point advantage heading into the final 10 minutes (48-39).

In the fourth, Tech braced for another push from the Colonials but held GW to just 1-7 from three during a stretch that built Tech’s lead to 15 thanks to a Silvia Nativi three from Salma Bates as the shot clock expired, 60-45. 

On the ensuing possession, George Washington’s bench was given a technical foul that led to two Walker free throws, followed by a Bates’ free throw, a bucket from Amaya Brannon, and a layup from Anja Bukvic to give Tech their largest lead of the game, 67-47, with 2:07 to play. 

Bates and Brannon each finished with seven points, Nativi and Thompson chipped in five apiece. 

Tech held the Colonials to just 34.6 percent shooting, including a 6-21 mark from three while cashing in on 51 percent of their own attempts and making 19-24 from the stripe (.792). 

After nine first-half turnovers for the Techsters, LA Tech took much better care of the ball, only coughing it up two times in the second half while forcing nine second-half Colonial turnovers. 

Tech outscored George Washington 38-22 in the paint and finished the Vegas weekend with 98 paint points over three games. Tech’s bench also proved impactful in three games over three days as they poured in 75 points over the weekend.

Walker was named to the UNLV All-Tournament team. She averaged 15.3 ppg, 2.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists, while registering three steals.