Dec. 7, 2014
RUSTON - After a month on the road, head coach Tyler Summitt and the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters finally got a chance to play a meaningful home game Sunday afternoon at the Thomas Assembly Center.
With Hall of Famers Leon Barmore, Pat Summitt and Karl Malone in the announced crowd of 2,107, senior Whitney Frazier and freshman Tiara Davenport led Louisiana Tech to a 75-61 win over undefeated and nationally ranked NAIA foe Loyola.
"It was great to be back in TAC," Summitt said. "We had a great crowd that came out. It was fun to be back here."
Frazier scored 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds while Davenport added 14 points and seven more boards as the duo combined to hit 16-of-23 field goals against a Wolf Pack team that entered the game 9-0 on the season and outscoring its opponents by 40 points per game.
Tech (3-3) used its athleticism to its advantage in the game, making it difficult for Loyola to get open looks all night. The Wolf Pack entered the game shooting 43 percent from the three-point line as a team and averaging more than 10 made three-pointers per game.
However, the Lady Techster utilized a full-court press and an aggressive man-to-man defense for much of the night, holding Loyola to 30 points below their average and only 33 percent (20-60) shooting on the day.
Tech started slow, hitting only 1-of-11 field goals to start the game. However, after watching Loyola score the first five points of the day, the Lady Techsters settled down offensively and got a spark from Davenport off the bench. The freshman entered the game at the 15:47 mark of the first half and proceeded to score six points in a four-minute stretch, giving LA Tech a 13-8 advantage.
"I am very proud of both Tiara and Kevione Moten and the spark they provided us off the bench tonight," said Summitt, who saw Moten added eight points and a career-high five rebounds in 15 minutes. "I am also very proud of all of the players who put the ball in the basket today, but I'm more proud of the assists. Twenty-four assists on 31 made field goals is an impressive stat. We shared the ball and it led to good shots."
Loyola kept the game close throughout much of the first half. Following a pair of free throws by Loyola guard Briana Oglesby at the 5:35 mark of the first half that cut the Tech lead to 24-19, the Lady Techsters closed the half strong. Back-to-back shots by Davenport followed by a three-pointer by Kanedria Andrews triggered a 14-7 run to close the half as the Lady Techsters entered the locker room leading 38-26.
Summitt's squad opened the second half just as strong. A conventional three-point play by Whitney Frazier started a run that culminated with back-to-back three-pointers by JaQuan Jackson in the opening three minutes of the second half, giving Tech a 21-point advantage.
"We were more aggressive on defense and turned into it a full-court game (during those stretches)," Summitt said. "We wanted it to be a transition game as much as it could against Loyola. I credit them as they executed their sets and did things well. I'm proud of our players for being more aggressive on defense during that stretch."
Tech pushed the lead out to as many as 23 numerous times in the second half and led 75-54 before Loyola ended the game on a 7-0 run over the final two minutes.
"We will continue to preach a 40-minute game to our team," Summitt said. "We played well in stretches today. We didn't come close to playing 40 minutes. We will get back to work tomorrow."
For the game, Tech shot 44 percent (31-70) from the field, including 8-of-24 from the three-point line while holding Loyola to 20-of-60 shooting, including 7-of-17 from beyond the arc. The Lady Techsters outrebounded Loyola 47-38, including 17 offensive rebounds.
In addition to Frazier and Davenport, Jackson added 12 points and Kelia Shelton scored 10 points, grabbed seven rebounds and added six assists. Chrisstasia Walter added a game-high eight assists and four steals.
Caroline Gonzalez led Loyola with 13 points while Janeicia Neely added 10 points.
The Lady Techsters return to action Thursday when they travel to Starkville to face Mississippi State.