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Techsters Dominate UTSA to Open WAC Tournament

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – For the second time in two meetings, Louisiana Tech dismantled the Western Athletic Conference's top defensive team as the Lady Techsters shot 58 percent from the field in an 85-58 win over UTSA late Wednesday night at the Orleans Arena.

With the win, Tech (14-16) advances to face the top-seeded Seattle Redhawks on Friday at 4:30 p.m. CT in the second semifinal match-up. Idaho and Utah State meet in the first semifinal game.

"This is March Madness," said Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon. "You have to play like its true madness. We played well and communicated well tonight. These kids believe in each other. Everything is championship in our mind."

UTSA (16-14) entered the game ranked No. 1 in the WAC in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense, but the Lady Techsters hit 28-of-48 field goals, including 64 percent (14-22) in the second half as it quickly pushed its 15-point halftime lead out to as many as 30.

The 85 points were the most surrendered by the Roadrunners, surpassing the 79 points that LA Tech scored in a 79-73 win at San Antonio on Feb. 7.

Janay Borum led four LA Tech players in double figures with 15 points, while Brittany Lewis added 14 points, Whitney Frazier 12 points and Brittney Jefferson a career-high 10 points. Courtney Hayes added seven points and a career-high 10 rebounds in the win.

"We came out with a great amount of intensity, and a great game plan," said Lewis. "It worked out well and we were able to come out with a win against a good UTSA team."

UTSA held an early 5-4 lead before a Jefferson three-pointer ignited a 12-4 run as the Lady Techsters built a 16-9 advantage. Tech would push the lead out to 25-15 with 7:55 to play in the half and eventually extended it to 38-19 with just over two minutes to play. Tech led 40-25 at the half.

Tech hit 54 percent (14-26) of its field goals in the first half while holding UTSA to only 27 percent (9-33). After the Roadrunners scored on their first possession of the second half to cut the lead to 13, Tech proceeded to score on four straight possessions and took a 52-31 lead with just over 15 minutes to play on a pair of free throws.

"They took it to us," said UTSA coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair. "That got us off to a bad start. Give LA Tech credit, from the very beginning they took it to us and had us back on our heels. They shot the ball well against our defense which we need to give them credit for."

The Lady Techsters eventually pushed the advantage out to 62-32 midway through the second half. UTSA refused to go quietly as the Roadrunners continued to foul down the stretch, sending the Lady Techsters to the free throw line. Tech hit 17-of-26 from the foul line in the second half and 26-of-36 for the game.

Kamra King led UTSA with 17 points while Miki Turner added 11.

With the victory, Tech improved to 23-6 all-time in WAC Tournament games.