Techsters fall to Niagara in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Less than 48 hours after recording one of its most impressive wins in years, Louisiana Tech came back down to earth in a 73-67 loss to Niagara Sunday at South Point Arena.

Despite shooting a season-high 55 percent from the field, the Lady Techsters (4-2) couldn’t overcome 21 turnovers and a poor effort on the defensive end of the floor.

“This is one of those learning lessons that young teams sometimes have to experience in order to truly understand,” said head coach Brooke Stoehr. “We didn’t get the job done. Niagara simply came out today and wanted it more than we did. We didn’t get down and defend on the defensive end of the floor and we turned it over too many times. We simply didn’t bring the energy today. It’s disappointing.”

Niagara entered the game winless through the first five games of the year, but the Purple Eagles (1-5) didn’t play like it. Victoria Rampado scored a game-high 27 points to lead four players in double figures and Jamie Sherburne added 16 points, including a huge three-pointer with less than two minutes to play after Tech took its only lead of the second half.

Tech led 20-19 after the first quarter after freshman Amber Dixon hit a running bank shot down the right side of the lane as the clock expired. The Techsters would push the advantage out to 23-19 but Niagara would answer, capitalizing on 13 first half turnovers to take a 36-34 lead into the halftime locker room.

The Purple Eagles never surrendered the lead in the third quarter as Rampado hit a buzzer beating three-pointer to give Niagara a 56-48 advantage at the end of the third quarter. Tech was outscored 20-14 in the third quarter despite hitting 64 percent of its field goals in the frame.

Niagara’s lead remained multiple possessions until the Lady Techsters made a run in the final five minutes. An Anna McLeod three-pointer followed by a Raizel Guinto layup and a Kierra Anthony layup gave Tech its only lead of the second half at 65-65 with less than 90 seconds to play.

However, on the ensuing possession, Niagara came up with a loose basketball and Sherburne drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Purple Eagles the advantage. Niagara hit 6-of-6 free throws in the final 60 seconds to secure the win.

Alexus Malone led Tech with 16 points and nine rebounds while McLeod added a season-high 12 points and Anthony chipped in with 10 points.

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