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Louisiana Tech easily wins

THOMAS RANSON
Appeal News Service

RENO – The 16th-ranked Louisiana Tech women’s basketball team made sure to avoid the trend of Wednesday’s quarterfinal upsets in the WAC tournament.

The No. 1 seeded Lady Techsters led a balanced offensive attack to upend eighth seed Idaho 80-57 before 1,071 fans at Lawlor Events Center.

Louisiana Tech will face host and fifth seed Nevada today at 2:30 p.m. while New Mexico State takes on Boise State at noon in the semifinals.

Aarica Ray-Boyd led the Lady Techsters with 18 points followed by Tasha Williams with 17. Ty Moore scored 13 points and Shan Moore added 12.

La. Tech held several advantages over Idaho with the biggest one coming in rebounding.

The Lady Techsters outrebounded the Vandals 39-17, including a 17-4 advantage on the offensive end, and shot 57 percent (34-of-60) from the floor.

“Since the WAC (season) began, we’ve led the conference in rebounding,” La. Tech coach Chris Long said. “For our team to be good, we have to rebound. I was pleased with our board work.”

La. Tech also outscored Idaho 23-2 on fast break points and had a 26-point margin in points in the paint.

“We got a lot of layups and good looks off the break,” Long said.

Leilani Mitchell led four Vandals in double figures by recording 21 points, including a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Emily Faurholt scored 14 points followed by Karly Felton and Jessica Summers each with 10.

“I am really proud of our kids. We showed courage by cutting it to 10 (60-50 with 7:48 left) in the second half,” Idaho coach Mike Divilbiss said. “I was pleased with our effort. They (La. Tech) shot the ball a lot better. They looked more excited to play than in the first two games. They were really good. We weren’t bad.”

Compared to the Lady Techsters’ shooting, the Vandals finished the game shooting 44 percent (20-of-45) from the field and 93 percent (14-of-15) from the free throw line.

Long said Idaho is a tough team to defend because of their shooting.

“They run some difficult sets to defend. We defended them much better in the second half,” Long said. “They’re a difficult team to defend. They very seldom turn the ball over. They shoot the ball so well you can’t relax.”

Long added defensive pressure enabled his team to create turnovers, but said Idaho’s trap defense caused trouble.

“We got back on defense better. We were relaxed offensively and defensively,” Long said. “Give Idaho credit. Defensively, they threw something new at us (trap defense).

“Offensively, we were very balanced. We have a lot of weapons on this team.”

As a result to the defensive pressure, Idaho committed 20 turnovers while La. Tech had 20.

After seeing three upsets during the day, Williams said her team needed to come out ready for the tournament.

“Coming into the tournament, we knew the team that came out to play would win this thing. We came out energized,” Williams said.