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December 21, 2011

Lady Techsters top Golden Eagles in battle of legendary programs

RUSTON, La. – Four starters scored in double figures for Louisiana Tech Wednesday afternoon, but it was a double-digit effort off the bench by Angie Felton which proved to be the biggest blow as the Lady Techsters handed Tennessee Tech an 82-64 loss in the Thomas Assembly Center.

Felton scored seven points in just over two minutes late in the first half to turn a three-point La Tech lead into a double-figure advantage.  Fron there, Louisiana Tech (7-7) used stingy defense and good shooting to maintain its edge and win for the fifth time its last six games.

The Golden Eagles (4-8) get a few days break for Christmas, then return to action Wednesday nigh (Dec. 28) when they host Marshall at 7 p.m. in Eblen Center. The ticket office, which is currently closed for the holidays, will open Wednesday at 1 p.m.

The game pitted two of the most successful programs in NCAA women's college basketball history. La Tech ranks second with 1,008 all-time victory and Tennessee Tech has the eighth-most number of wins in history with 841.

Whitney Frazier paced La Tech with 20 points, while Jelena Vucinic added 13 and both Shantrell Bramble-Donaldson and Jasmine Bendolph notched 10 each.

Seneior Tacarra Hayes topped Tech with 18 points while sophomore Molly Heady contributed 17 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Junior Jala Harris also reached double figures with 11 points.

Rebounds were even at 36 apiece and turnovers were just about even, La Tech with 24 and TTU with 22.  The difference came in the shooting percentages, while La Tech used 20 team assists to lead to 56.3 percent (27-for-48) accuracy including 5-for-8 from outside the arc. The Golden Eagles, who had six assists in the contest, shot 32.3 percent (21-for-65) including 3-for-11 at the free throw line.  

The game opened as a rock-em, sock-em shootout with the two teams each hitting 50 percent and trading buckets through a 16-16 tie after seven minutes of full-court action.

The Lady Techsters pulled ahead but a couple buckets, before Hayes hit a jumper wth 9:33 remaining to make it a three-point game, 23-20.

That's when Felton took control. She started with a 3-pointer from the right wing at 9:11, for a 26-20 lead. Following a basket by Frazier at 8:11 to make it 28-20, and a layup by Heady to make it 28-22, Felton hit back-to-back baskets just 27 seconds apart and the lead went to 10 points, 32-22, with 6:27 left in the half.

La Tech held an 11-point lead at halftime, 39-28. After hiting 7-for-14 to open the contest, the Golden Eagles were 4-for-21 over the final 12 minutes.

The Golden Eagles fought back to witin seven points t open the second half  on a basket by Hayes and a steal and two free throws by Krystal Stirrup.

Louisiana Tech then made nine of its next 10 shots and the Golden Eagles made seven turnovers in the next five minites and the lead grew to 20 points.

That's about where it stayed for the final 14 minutes as both coaches used their benches extensively.