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Lady Techster basketball striving for greatness

January 22, 2016

 

ALEX HEARD

Staff Reporter | amh072@latech.edu

 

The Lady Techsters are on the cusp of greatness.

 

However, for head coach Tyler Summitt and the Louisiana Tech women’s basketball team, that greatness will not come until he completely settles in and has a team stockpiled full of ladies that he recruited himself.

 

This is so because Summitt and the previous head coach Teresa Weatherspoon have different coaching ideologies.

 

The ladies Weatherspoon recruited to Tech, nearly half of the current roster, came in to play the role she felt they were best for.  Summitt, on the other hand, has his own idea of what would make Lady Techsters basketball great again.

LJasmine LeBlanc pulls up for a jump shot in the Lady Techster’s 74-71 loss to McNeese State on Dec. 22–Photo by Donny J. Crowe/LA Tech Communications

LJasmine LeBlanc pulls up for a jump shot in the Lady Techster’s 74-71 loss to McNeese State on Dec. 22–Photo by Donny J. Crowe/LA Tech Communications

 

To achieve that, Summitt must recruit players who come in knowing his mantra, which is no girls who have known something else for years and must be uncomfortably taught something they are not used to.

 

Though Weatherspoon was fired for her inability to produce wins, that does not mean the girls she recruited cannot play or will not succeed under Summitt.

 

Many of the upperclassmen from the “T-Spoon” era play critical roles on this year’s team. One of those is senior guard/forward Brandi Wingate, who has grown as a player under Summitt’s tutelage as he has made her a more consistent player.

 

Wingate said she will prove her consistency this year.

 

“This is my year to step up,” Wingate said. “That’s all I keep thinking about. I like being that go-to person. It’s definitely a challenge. You have to be ‘on’ every day, every night, bringing it every practice, every possession. Consistency is really, really hard because you can’t have off days. Some days you aren’t going to feel like it because you might be going through something.”

 

Wingate has been one of the more productive Lady Techsters, who are currently 8-8 and are looking like a team that can hold their own and make some noise in the Conference USA Tournament.

 

In fact, Wingate is one of the top players in C-USA. She leads the Lady Techsters in scoring (16.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 ppg) while shooting 57 percent from the field. Some of her biggest games have come against Tech’s biggest opponents such as: No. 6 Mississippi State (25 points), No. 23 UCLA (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Arizona (26 points).

 

Her production is remarkable being that she tore her ACL in Junior College before coming to Tech.

 

Summitt said Wingate epitomizes the type of women he likes to coach.

 

“Players like Brandi Wingate remind you why you are in coaching,” Summitt said. “You realize the unique position that a coach is in to influence a young lady for four years of her life at a crucial time. I really do feel like God had a plan to have our staff here and Brandi here at the same time.”

 

Summitt said he has brought Wingate off the bench during games this year to raise her ceiling even higher and as somewhat of a motivating factor.

 

“It was a staff decision to bring Brandi off the bench,” Summitt said. “And I think it played dividends and sent a message to her and she responded. She was scoring as a starter but off the bench she did more; she rebounded, defended, and blocked some shots. I was very proud of the way Brandi (has) responded.”

 

The Lady Techsters play Southern Mississippi at noon Sunday in the Thomas Assembly Center.

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