RUSTON – Louisiana Tech hosts defending Sun Belt Conference champion Little Rock Friday at 11 a.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center in its annual Education Day Game.
The non-traditional weekday start time is because more than 3,000 local elementary school age children are scheduled to be in attendance from more than 30 schools from Lincoln Parish and many of the surrounding parishes.
LA Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr
said this is one of her favorite games each season.
"We get a great atmosphere in here with the students," said Stoehr. "For some of those kids it is the only time they get to come to a college game. We want this experience for them to be something that they will remember.
"They can watch our players and we hope we exhibit and play with a passion and determination that inspires them to be passionate about whatever it is that they enjoy, whether it be school or athletics or being a great brother or sister. We want to inspire those young ones and hopefully they will be (Louisiana) Tech students one day too."
The young hoop fans will get an opportunity to watch two programs that are familiar with one another. Tech and Little Rock (then UALR) were both members of the Sun Belt Conference together from 1999-2001 before LA Tech moved to the Western Athletic Conference. They have played 12 times.
Stoehr (2003-05) and husband Scott (2004-05) both served as assistants for current Little Rock head coach Joe Foley early in their careers. They know what his teams bring to the floor.
"They are going to be one of the best defensive teams in the country year in and year out," said Stoehr. "I can't say enough about coach Foley and the job he has done there. He is a tremendous coach and leads that program and that team. They are going to be prepared."
Little Rock has led the Sun Belt Conference in scoring defense for six straight seasons. The Trojans won both the regular season and tournament titles last year on their way to the NCAA Tournament. They are led by preseason SBC Player of the Year Ronjanae DeGray.
"We know they are going to guard us," said Stoehr. "We have to be strong with the ball and we know we have to be able to attack. We have to handle their motion. They are going to screen us and screen us and screen us some more. They will be patient with their looks until they get what they want. We have to be much better defensively than we were (against LSU-Alexandria)."
Tech scorched the nets for 112 points, including 66 in the third and fourth quarters, in its season opening win over LSU-Alexandria. Kierra Anthony
(21), Raizel Guinto
(19), Amber Dixon
(16), Taylor Stahly
(12), Grayson Bright
(10) and Keiunna Walker
(10) all scored in double figures as Tech set a program record for most points in a season opener.
"We want to spread it out and we want to shoot it," said Stoehr. "We know we are going to be guarded very, very well and we know we have to be solid in what we do."
The contest will be the season opener for Little Rock.
Tech leads the all-time series against Little Rock 9-3, including a 6-0 record in games played in Ruston. The Lady Techsters defeated Little Rock 58-49 last year on the road, one of only two home games (Oklahoma) that the Trojans lost all season.
Fans can tune into the contest on the LA Tech Sports Network on KNBB 97.7 FM (Ruston), KRMD 100.7 FM (Shreveport/Bossier City), KRMD 1340 AM (Shreveport/Bossier City) and KJVC 92.7 FM with the pregame show starting at 6 p.m. Fans can also access a free audio stream though the Louisiana Tech X mobile app while watching a live video stream through a paid subscription to CUSATV.com.
Season tickets are still on sale and can be purchased by calling 318-257-3631 or logging onto LATechSports.com/tickets. The 2019 Conference USA Basketball Tournament will once again be at The Star in Frisco, Texas March 13-16.