DALLAS, Texas – Louisiana Tech opens play in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament Friday night when the Lady Techsters travel to Moody Coliseum to face American Athletic Association foe SMU. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
The contest can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM with the pregame show set for 6:30 p.m. Fans can also watch a live video stream by purchasing a subscription to PonyUp.TV on the SMU website at SMUMustangs.com. There is not TV for the game.
This marks the first time LA Tech has played in the postseason since participating in the 2011 NCAA Tournament in Shreveport.
“Anytime you head into a year you want to play in March,” said LA Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “For the direction of this program and what this group has accomplished, this is great for our team. It shows the growth and progress they have made through this season. For us it gives us extra time to develop in practice. It’s really exciting for them. It’s huge for our program and the direction we are headed.”
Tech (18-13) and SMU (17-14) meet for the 19th time in the series history with the Lady Techsters leading the all-time series 18-0. The Lady Techsters and the Mustangs were both members of the Western Athletic Conference during a four-year stretch (2001-05) with Tech prevailing in all eight of those games.
Coincidently, Tech and SMU last met in WNIT action in 2009 with the Lady Techsters defeating SMU 77-54 in Ruston.
SMU finished 7-9 and in sixth place in the American Athletic Conference – a league won by defending national champion UConn. The Mustangs rank among the national leaders in a number of defensive categories, including defensive field goal percentage (.352), scoring defense (58.2 ppg) and blocked shots per game (5.7).
“They are very good defensively,” said Stoehr, who was 3-0 against SMU during her playing days as a Lady Techster. “They have a really nice player in Alicia Froling, who is almost averaging a double double. She is a very versatile player that rebounds extremely well, can score in and around the paint and rebounds very well. They are not a great outside scoring team, but they rebound the ball extremely well and defend very well. We are going to have to do a great job of keeping the ball out of the paint, forcing contested shots and finding ways to score against them.”
Froling, a 6-foot-3-inch forward, averages 14.0 points and 9.9 rebounds per game while leading SMU with 47 blocked shots. Guard McKenzie Adams is also averaging in double figures at 12.3 points per game and is one of the top three-point threats, connecting on 28-of-100 on the season.
Offensively, SMU is averaging just 58.7 points per game while shooting 38 percent from the field and 26 percent from the three-point line.
“I think neither of us are great scoring teams, but we have been able to hold people defensively and from a rebounding standpoint,” said Stoehr. “We will have to find ways to score against them, and they will have to do the same thing against us.”
Louisiana Tech enters the postseason led by Kierra Anthony (12.9 ppg, 49-116 three-pointers), Jasmine LeBlanc (12.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg) and Alexus Malone (11.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg). The Lady Techsters average 68.3 points per game and are shooting 44 percent from the field and 31 percent from the three-point line.