Roberson leads Techsters to 5th straight win

Anna Larr Roberson (44) scored 16 points to lead the Lady Techsters to a win over WKU. (Photo by Kelsey Chanler)

Lady Techsters 70, WKU 65

Louisiana Tech women’s basketball team extended its season’s longest win streak to five games with a 70-65 win over WKU at home behind four Techsters in double figures.

Anna Larr Roberson scored a game-high 18 points with nine rebounds, while Gabbie Green scored a season-high 14 on four threes. Keiunna Walker scored 13, moving into No. 8 on the all-time scoring list, and added nine rebounds. Lotte Sant added 11 points on three threes and passed Debra Williams for No. 6 on the career three-point makes list.

In the first quarter, LA Tech (17-10, 10-7 C-USA) held WKU (14-12, 11-6 C-USA) without a field goal for nearly the first eight minutes while hitting 10 of their first 12 shots, including three threes to build a ten-point, 23-13, lead after one.

“I thought we got off to a great start on both ends of the floor and forced some tough shots, which, fortunately for us, they missed,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “I loved our composure on the offensive end, and I think the stops on defense got us out in transition for some good looks to settle us early. At times we fouled too much and turned it over, but most of those turnovers were dead-ball, which still allowed us to set up our defense.”

The Techsters extended the lead to 27-15, but a WKU 10-2 run closed the gap to seven before a couple of jumpers from Roberson stopped the bleeding. After back-to-back buckets from the Hilltoppers cut the lead to six, Silvia Nativi found Robyn Lee for a layup at the halftime buzzer to finish the first twenty minutes with LA Tech up eight, 35-27.

After WKU cut the lead to six again, Tech responded with back-to-back-to-back threes (two from Green, one from Salma Bates) to push the lead to 13 (49-36) with 5:38 left in the third stanza and force a Hilltopper timeout. Tech’s run would extend to a 12-2 spurt, but WKU finished the period on a 7-2 run of their own to give Tech a nine-point lead heading into the fourth (54-43).

In the middle of the final period, WKU used an 8-2 run (61-53) with 5:56 remaining but failed to score a basket over the next three minutes. The Hilltoppers would get eight late points, but the game was out of reach thanks to six straight made free throws from the Techsters inside the final two minutes.

LA Tech shot 48 percent on the night and hit eight threes (8-24) while holding WKU to 31 percent and 22.6 percent from three.

Tech earned a plus-seven advantage on the boards (42-35) and moved to 11-0 on the year when winning the rebounding battle and 10-1 when scoring 70 or more.

Tech hosts Conference USA leader Middle Tennessee Saturday at 2 p.m.


WKU 76, Bulldogs 66

For a second straight game, Louisiana Tech was unable to overcome a slow start, falling 76-66 to WKU on Thursday night inside E.A. Diddle Arena.

“I felt like we were flat and sluggish in the first half,” said Tech coach Talvin Hester. “They beat us to every loose ball. I do not think we played with pace, getting into our defense the way we needed to. I felt like we did all of those things in the second half, which gave us a chance. We have dealt with no putting 40 minutes together all year.”

LA Tech (13-15, 6-11 C-USA) trailed by 13 right out of the gates and ultimately found itself down 12 at halftime. It was a first half that saw the Bulldogs shoot just 33 percent from the field while WKU (15-13, 7-10 C-USA) was 50 percent shooting, getting 14 points apiece from Dontaie Allen and Dayvion McKnight.

The Bulldogs flipped the switch in the second half, getting to within five at 48-53 after a series of three-pointers from Dravon Mangum and Kaleb Stewart.

Every time LA Tech would get within striking distance though, WKU made a quick run to increase its lead back out to double-digits. The Hilltoppers got five quick ones, making it a 48-58 game with 9:22 to go.

The ‘Dogs made another late push, getting a pair of Isaiah Crawford jumpers and a putback layup by Kenny Hunter to get to within four at 57-61. The run forced a timeout by the Hilltoppers with 5:09 to play, the closest LA Tech had been since the opening minutes of the game.

Again though, WKU punched back. This time it was a 10-0 spurt that was sparked by a three-pointer from the wing by Khristian Lander late in the shot clock. He tacked on another during the run that put the Bulldogs down 14 and out of reach for good.

LA Tech outscored WKU, 37-35, in the second half while shooting 53.8 percent during those 20 minutes. For the game, they went 25-of-59 for 42.4 percent, getting a combined 30 points from Crawford and Keaston Willis (16 and 14). Kenny Hunter was also a solid contributor, registering nine points, nine rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.

WKU was 27-of-55 for the game for 49.1 percent. They also made 12 free throws, six more than LA Tech attempted from the foul line. Four Hilltoppers reached double-digit points, led by McKnight who had 19.