RUSTON – On a night that saw Rice neutralize Louisiana Tech’s strength on the boards, head coach Brooke Stoehr saw her Lady Techster team once again find another way to win a game.
LA Tech (17-11, 12-5 C-USA) committed a season-low eight turnovers and held a potent shooting three-point Rice team to only 4-of-25 from beyond the arc in defeating the Owls 62-51 before 2,025 fans at the Thomas Assembly Center Saturday night.
Tech entered the game having outrebounded it last five opponents by at least 13 boards in each game but on this night, the Lady Techsters saw the tables turned.
In a first half that saw both teams struggle to score, Rice outrebounded Tech 20-10, including pulling down 12 offensive boards. On the night, Rice outrebounded Tech 33-25, but the Owls scored only eight second chance points off of 16 offensive rebounds.
“I wasn’t happy with our energy in the first half,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “I told the team in the halftime locker room that the offensive rebounds were what were keeping them in the game. We just didn’t do a very good job on the board tonight.
“But I’m proud that we found a way to win. We still held them to 51 points and that’s with us giving up some really late in the game. We forced them to shoot contested three-pointers and they weren’t able to knock enough of them down. They are a tough team to defend, but I thought we did a pretty good job.”
Jasmine LeBlanc led Tech with 15 points and was the lone Lady Techster in double figures. However, Kierra Anthony, Ashley Santos and Reauna Cleaver each scored eight points and Rochelle Vasquez added seven points.
As a team, Tech shot 49 percent (22-of-45) from the field and 17-of-20 from the free throw line.
“We were very balanced tonight,” said Stoehr. “I thought everyone played a role in this win. We took care of the basketball and that was probably the biggest reason we won the game tonight.”
Tech led 11-10 after the first quarter and 23-22 at halftime. However, the Lady Techsters outscored Rice 20-12 in the third quarter to increase its advance to 43-34 with just 10 minutes to play. After Rice closed the gap to as few as five points early in the fourth quarter, Tech pushed the lead back out to double figures, including as much as a 14-point lead with a minute to play.
Nicole Iademarco led Rice with 21 points.
Tech swept the season series from the Owls after also defeating Rice 70-67 in overtime in Houston on Jan. 19.
The Lady Techsters remain in a two-way tie with Southern Miss for third place in the Conference USA standings. The two teams end the regular season against each other in Hattiesburg Friday.