DALLAS, Texas – Alicia Froling scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead SMU to a 75-70 overtime win over Louisiana Tech Friday night at Moody Coliseum in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
In a game that saw 59 fouls called and a total of six players foul out, SMU (18-14) overcame a 14-point second half deficit in route to the program’s first win in 19 tries against Louisiana Tech (18-14).
“I am so proud of the effort we gave tonight,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “We played with energy and we played like we wanted to be here. We didn’t lose because of lack of effort. We probably could have been a little smarter down the stretch on some possessions, but this is a great learning experience for our young team. I hate the season is over.
“Our kids are hurting in that locker room. I’ve walked into some locker rooms before at the end of years where players didn’t care. This group was hurting after this game. They cared and they wanted to win tonight. We just didn’t make enough plays.”
Tech led 54-40 with 1:18 to play in the third quarter after Kierra Anthony knocked down the third three-pointer by the Lady Techsters in a three-minute stretch. Tech appeared to have the momentum, but SMU rallied over the final 75 seconds of the period to regain some composure.
Froling hit a layup with a minute to play. Following a turnover by Tech with 1.4 seconds remaining in the frame, Froling took the inbounds pass in the backcourt, took one dribble and launched a halfcourt prayer that was answered. Tech’s lead was just 54-47 and SMU was re-energized.
“You look back and that was really the difference in the game,” said Stoehr. “We were up by 14 and had all the momentum. That shot really gave them new life.”
SMU opened the fourth quarter scoring the first eight points of the frame, taking a 55-54 advantage after a conventional three-point play by Froling, who scored 22 of her 28 points in the second half and OT. And with 5:54 to play in the fourth SMU had its first lead since the first quarter.
It was Tech’s turn to respond. Anthony and Ashely Santos hit back-to-back jumpers and a Kevione Moten free throw gave the Lady Techsters a 59-55 lead with just under four minutes to play. The two teams went back and forth until the final 30 seconds of regulation.
Tech had a one-point lead and the basketball. With a five-second difference between the game clock and shot clock the Techsters were poised to make it difficult for SMU, but a traveling violation was called with 21 seconds left giving the Ponies possession.
After Froling hit 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game at 63-63 with 12 seconds to play, Tech had a chance to win. However, Anthony’s potential game-winning 18-footer was just long sending the game into overtime.
Tech played from behind the entire extra period after SMU’s Morgan Bolton nailed a three-pointer on the Mustangs first possession. With foul trouble plaguing both teams, Tech couldn’t find any type of offensive rhythm in the fourth quarter or OT – hitting only 2 of its last 17 field goal attempts in the game.
SMU saw four players foul out while Tech lost Jasmine LeBlanc and Reauna Cleaver. Tech ended the game with four more players with four fouls each.
SMU hit 26-of-37 free throws while Tech connected on 19-of-27 free throws. The Lady Techsters hit just 33 percent (21-62) of its field goals, the second lowest shooting percentage in 32 games this year for the Lady Techsters.
Anthony led Tech with 21 points while Rochelle Vasquez added 15 points.