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Techsters look to maintain physicality

February 10, 2017

 

The Lady Techsters’ Jasmine LeBlanc (22) goes high to take a shot against Marshall. LeBlanc helped Tech to a 72-54 victory over Marshall. – Photo by Darrell James

 

Alex Heard
Staff Reporter | amh072@latech.edu

 

There was a pillow fight in West Virginia.

 

No, there was not a sleepover, just a soft first half of basketball by two teams who lacked physicality.

 

At halftime of Saturday’s Conference USA game between Louisiana Tech and Marshall, Lady Techster head coach Brooke Stoehr spoke to her squad, comparing the opening two quarters of play to a pillow fight.

 

In the second half, Tech (11-11, 6-5 C-USA) got the message and had a different type of energy about them at the Cam Henderson Center, outscoring Marshall (12-10, 4-7 C-USA) by 18 points in a 72-54 win. The loss was only Marshall’s third at home in 12 games this season.

 

Stoehr said she let her team know how winnable the game was for either squad.

 

“I told them at halftime that it looked like neither team wanted to be out there,” Stoehr said. “I told them whichever team could come out in the second half and really play with some urgency and energy for a 10-minute stretch … that team had a chance to really pull away and win the game.”

 

Stoehr said the team’s play on defense flipped the game around in their favor.               

 

“I thought we did exactly that in the third quarter,” Stoehr said. “I thought it started with Rochelle Vasquez’s energy on the defensive end. We started to really attack the glass on both ends and get out and push the basketball in transition. We still missed some shots but our energy allowed us to build the lead.”

 

Tied 29-29 at the half, Tech came out in the third quarter and punched the Thundering Herd in the mouth, scoring 14 of its 21 points in the stanza in the paint with nine of those coming on second-chance points. Tech got 10 offensive rebounds in the quarter and out-rebounded Marshall 21-14.

 

Alexus Malone scored seven points, Jasmine LeBlanc added five and Ashley Santos chipped in with four points during that third quarter as Tech built as much as a 16-point lead at 50-34.

 

Marshall did not fold and made a late push scoring six points in the final 50 seconds of the third quarter to come within 10 (50-40).

 

However, with the help of some youngsters Tech did not to allow Marshall to get any closer as freshmen Kierra Lang and Anna McLeod buried back-to-back 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter.

 

Then another underclassman took over.

 

Kierra Anthony, a sophomore guard, scored 14 straight points for Tech, including three straight 3-point shots and then a conventional and-one, three-point play. Anthony’s layup with 3:24 to play gave the Tech an insurmountable 20-point lead. Tech was lethal from the perimeter in the final 10 minutes of play, hitting 5-of-5 3-pointers. She ended the game with a career-high 23 points.

 

Stoehr said she loved how her team executed down the stretch.

 

“We got some big shots from Kierra (Lang) and Anna early and then Kee (Anthony) really took over,” Stoehr said. “We were able to use some clock because of the lead and just continued to knock down shots. This is a big win for us. This was a team win. We got a lot of contributions from so many people and that’s what we needed today.”

 

Marshall entered the game as the CUSA’s most deadly perimeter team, averaging 8 3-pointers made per game. The Thundering Herd made their average yet it took 31 shots. Tech proved to superior from the 3-point line, hitting a season-high 8 3-pointers on only 17 attempts.

 

However, the team’s success in the paint is to thank for all of the open perimeter attempts.

 

Stoehr said she is thrilled by the way her team bought into what she was preaching about the lack of hustle.

 

“I loved our energy in the second half,” Stoehr said. “This has been a long road trip, but we dug down deep and played with some real fire in the second half. I know we are all ready to get back home, but the trip home will be a lot more pleasant after today.”

 

Tech plays the University of Texas-El Paso at 6:30 p.m. today in the Thomas Assembly Center.

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