Jan. 21, 2014
Game Day Central
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech hosts Conference USA's top three-point shooting team Wednesday night when the Lady Techsters face Florida Atlantic at 6:30 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center.
Tech is 5-12 on the season and still looking for its first league win after dropping four straight Conference USA contests. Florida Atlantic is 11-6 on the season but has dropped two straight and three of its last four.
"We have to play with a tremendous amount of confidence," said Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon. "It's important that we play well. Florida Atlantic is a small team, but they push the ball well. They execute their offense well. We have to be on-point defensively. If we can do that, we will give ourselves a chance to win.
"We have done well defensively in spurts this year. However, you can't defend in spurts. You have to do it for 40 minutes. That's how you win."
The Owls are one of the most balanced teams in the league with four players averaging in double figures and all 11 players on the roster averaging double digit minutes per contest.
Florida Atlantic ranks No. 1 in Conference USA in three-pointers made per game (7.5) as the Owls have connected on 128-of-412 attempts on the year. Eight of the 11 Owls have attempted at least 20 three-pointers this season led by Kimberly Smith (10.5 ppg, 40-107 three-pointers) and Latavi Dempsey (13.2 ppg, 34-91 three-pointers).
The undersized Owls also lead the league in turnover margin. Florida Atlantic is committing only 13.9 turnovers per game while forcing their opponents into 22.5 per contest.
After winning four of five games prior to the Christmas break, the Lady Techsters have dropped five straight since returning. Offensively, Tech has struggled to shoot the basketball, hitting only 36 of its field goal attempts and only 25 percent from the three-point line.
"It's been tough," Weatherspoon said. "Anyone who has ever played the game knows it is not fun walking out there and getting this type of outcome. We are remaining confident. There is a lot of basketball left. We are learning valuable lessons. Patience is so important as we continue to teach. I'm competitive; that's who I am. I have to put them in positions to be successful."
Junior Whitney Frazier (15.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg) has recorded seven double doubles this season, including in six of the past 10 games. Frazier ranks fifth in Conference USA in rebounding.
Junior Chrisstasia Walter (13.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.8 apg, 3.2 spg), freshman JaQuan Jackson (11.6 ppg, 29-96 three-pointers) and sophomore Lulu Perry (9.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg) are the Lady Techsters other three main offensive threats while sophomore forward Veanca Hall (3.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg) is coming off a career-high 13 points in the loss at East Carolina.
Tech won the only other meeting ever against Florida Atlantic, defeating the Owls 71-32 in Boca Raton on March 3, 1987. Weatherspoon - a junior at the time - scored six points and registered seven assists in the win.
The game can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on KNBB 97.7 FM and KTKC 92.9 FM with the pregame show starting at 6 p.m. Fans can also access audio and video online by purchasing a subscription to LA Tech All-Access at LATechSports.com.
In-game Twitter updates can be followed at @LATechWBB and fans can follow Lady Techster basketball on Facebook by LIKING Facebook.com/LATechWBB.