By: Malcolm Butler/Louisiana Tech Athletics
RUSTON, La. – Keiunna Walker and Grayson Bright each scored 16 points and Louisiana Tech hit a season-high 12 three-pointers as the Lady Techsters used a second-half run to defeat Middle Tennessee 78-60 Thursday night at the Thomas Assembly Center.
“They have to understand the importance of showing up and competing,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “There is a lot of parity in this league. I think we are right there in the mix when we show up and compete hard. We got loose balls tonight. We got on the floor. We got rebounds. I thought we defended. I think Middle Tennessee is really good. They missed some open looks but we were also right there defensively.”
Tech shot 47 percent (27-of-58) from the field for the game, including 57 percent (16-of-28) after halftime. The Lady Techsters recorded 18 assists while committing just 11 turnovers, only four after the first quarter of action.
“I thought we attacked them on the offensive end,” said Stoehr. “That may have a little bit to do with our ability to get to the paint off the dribble and that setting up open looks from the three-point line. I thought we shared the basketball really well tonight. You aren’t going to hit 12 threes every night but if we show up and play like we did and get these types of looks, this team is capable of that.”
After leading 33-31 at the half, Tech found itself trailing 43-39 with midway through the third quarter. However, the Lady Techsters closed the quarter on a 20-5 run to take an 11-point lead into the final 10 minutes of action.
“I thought that was an important stretch,” said Stoehr. “I was frustrated because it was a two-point game and we had pushed in transition. Walker missed a layup and then we gave up a layup the other way. So instead of tying it, we were down four.
“Those have been moments where our team may have put its head down and then all of a sudden it’s a three or four possession game. I really felt like we handled it well. We got some stops. We were able to turn them over and got some loose balls. We just ask them to compete hard. We can put them in position to be successful if they will just do that.”
Any chance of the Blue Raiders staging a fourth quarter come-back were doused early as Guinto hit two of her five three-pointers in a 90 second span that saw Tech push the lead out to 71-50 with 5:50 to play in the game. Middle Tennessee would get no closer than 16 points the rest of the way.
Walker added a career-high seven assists with only one turnover while pulling down five rebounds while Dixon added four rebounds, three steals, two steals and two blocks.
Anastasia Hayes led Middle Tennessee with 25 points.
Tech returns to action Saturday when the Lady Techsters host UAB at 2 p.m.