Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications
Lady Techsters 76, FIU 65
Louisiana Tech women’s basketball team used a balanced attack and a season-high 48 points in the paint to break a two-game skid with a 76-65 win over the FIU Panthers Thursday night in Ruston.
“I thought we had an excellent start defensively and set the tone,” said head coach Brooke Stoehr. “We needed to start forcing some tougher shots and then finish possessions with defensive rebounds, and I thought we really battled against the best offensive rebounding team in the league.”
Three Techsters reached double figures, including a near double-double from Keiunna Walker, who had 17 points and a season-high nine rebounds. Anna Larr Roberson played in her first home game since Dec. 18 and added 16 points, while Salma Bates contributed 13 and five assists.
“Anna Larr brings such confidence to our team and her teammates when she’s out there, and I think you saw that tonight,” said Stoehr. “We played with a lot of confidence and had great balance. Every game is big at this point, this was a big one in terms of the standings, and Saturday will be just as big.”
In the first, LA Tech (13-10, 6-7 C-USA) put together runs of 8-2 and 8-0 to double up FIU (12-11, 7-7 C-USA) 18-9 after one, getting six early points from Roberson in her return.
Lotte Sant’s three with 4:10 left in the half fueled an 11-3 run capped off a Roberson putback to build Tech’s largest lead of the game at 18 (37-19). Sant’s three moved her passed Brooke Stoehr and Kierra Anthony into No. 8 in all-time career made threes.
FIU answered early in the third quarter, opening with back-to-back threes en route to a 10-2 run to close the gap by single digits (40-31) just over two minutes into the period. However, in a quarter that combined for 49 points, Tech was able to find success at the free throw line hitting all nine attempts and building the lead back to 12 after the third stanza (60-48).
In the fourth, Tech was able to keep pace with each of FIU’s comeback attempts to keep the Panthers at a comfortable distance to win their eighth home game of the season.
Tech hit 28-53 from the field (.528), including a 63 percent second half, and shot 17-22 from the line (.773). Defensively, LA Tech held FIU to 41 percent (23-56), including 5-15 from three (.333), and forced 20 turnovers for the fourth time this season.
The Lady Techsters host Florida Atlantic Saturday at 2 p.m.
FIU 66, Bulldogs 62
Turnovers and fouling were the difference for Louisiana Tech on Thursday night as the Bulldogs fell, 66-62, to FIU inside the Ocean Bank Convocation Center.
Despite making more field goals (23 to 22) and more three-point field goals (nine to four), LA Tech (13-11, 6-7 C-USA) matched its season high in TOs with 23 and sent FIU (13-12, 7-7 C-USA) to the free throw line 28 times.
The first 14 minutes were great for the Bulldogs, building a 30-19 advantage after Isaiah Crawford’s bucket in the paint with 6:08 to go in the first half.
The next 14 minutes however was a completely different story. The turnovers started to mount, which allowed the Panthers to close the half on a 9-0 run to get to within two at 30-28 going into the locker room.
The story continued unfortunately into the second half as the Bulldogs, stuck on 30 points for nearly 10 minutes of basketball, finally stopped a bad scoring drought with two made free throws by Cobe Williams. That was after FIU ending up extending its run to 17-0 to grab a 36-30 lead.
With its largest deficit at eight with 8:18 to play, the offense finally started to come around again for LA Tech. After Kaleb Stewart drained his fourth three-pointer of the game, Jordan Crawford and Kenny Hunter connected on an alley-oop slam to take the lead back at 56-55 with 3:25 left.
FIU countered with a dunk of its own, and then tacked on seven made free throws down the stretch to stop LA Tech from going back in front.
It was a one-possession game in the final four minutes of the contest. The ‘Dogs had one final attempt to force overtime down three, but they were not able to get a shot attempt off after committing their 23rd turnover.
Tech tips off on the road against league-leader Florida Atlantic at 1 p.m. Saturday.
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