Big First Half Propels Lady Techsters Over Wildcats

RUSTON – Louisiana Tech knocked down eight 3s in the first half on its way to an 88-52 win over Louisiana College on Education Day in the Thomas Assembly Center.

Louisiana Tech (2-0) was 8-17 from behind the arc in the first half en route to a 48-15 lead over Louisiana Christian (0-0) at the break.

“I thought we moved the ball really, really well on Monday night,” Louisiana Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr said, referencing Monday’s win over LSU-Alexandria. “We knocked down shots today, but were not as clean and crisp. I think sometimes just a different noise level may affect you, even though you’re used to being in front of big crowds, but it’s just a constant noise. I think it impacted a couple of our players, but I thought we settled in there after the first few minutes and got some things going.

“Autumn Smith came off the bench and gave us a big spark there, both on offense and defense, but she allows her defense to create offense for us and then knock down a couple of shots. We got some good balance, got everybody in, and rebounded the ball much better in the second half, but not very pleased with our defensive effort overall.”

Guillory finished 6-9 in 12 minutes, 4-7 from 3, to lead the Lady Techsters with 16 points. Anna Larr Roberson nearly had a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. Salma Bates and Autumn Smith added 11 and 10, respectively, while Silvia Nativi dished out eight assists.

Louisiana College gave LA Tech all they could handle for the game’s first five minutes. The Wildcats’ defense didn’t allow the Lady Techsters to get into the fast-tempo style of play they do their best in. Tech was still an efficient 3-7 from the field but held a 10-7 lead at the first media timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, Autumn Smith hit a 3 from the wing and followed that with a steal at midcourt and layup to ignite an 11-1 run to end the first.

The Lady Techsters started to turn the defense up a notch in the second. The Techsters forced the Wildcats into five turnovers and just 2-13 from the field, including 0-4 for the final four minutes.

Freshman Paris Guillory checked in with 4 seconds remaining in the first quarter but started making an impact early in the second stanza. Guillory knocked down all three shots in only four minutes of action.

“The thing about Paris is that she could have started 0 for four, and she was still going to take that fifth shot,” Stoehr said. “So you love that mentality. She’s fearless, and sometimes that’s great, especially from a young player, you don’t often see that. And so we need that. This group needs a little bit of that, not being tentative, not being passive. She’s just aggressive, and I think that energy feeds off it.”

Louisiana Christian attacked more often in the third quarter, forcing the Lady Techster to foul seven times. LCU would go 8-10 from the charity strip to keep pace with Tech. The teams would trade points for most of the quarter.

The Lady Techsters were on cruise control in the fourth, giving the bench valuable playing time, which scored a combined 41 points of the 88 total.

“Yeah, it’s big,” Stoehr said. “We need that. As we talked about in the offseason, a lot of things are going to go through Anna Larr in the paint, and that creates a lot of open shots for other people. And to have people come in and knock those down, that’s big. But we talk a lot about being more balanced, and we’re seeing that.”