Techsters Use second half surge to down ULM

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RUSTON – Louisiana Tech overcame a 14-point first half deficit and used a 21-0 run in the second half to pull away from ULM in a 71-49 Lady Techster victory Monday night at the Thomas Assembly Center.

ULM shot 81 percent (9-11) in the first quarter and 69 percent (15-22) in the first half to take a 35-24 lead into the halftime locker room. Tech’s only lead of the opening two quarters came at 2-0 in the first 60 seconds of the game.

“I didn’t like our energy at shoot around today,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “They were running Princeton and I know it because we ran it for four years at Northwestern State. If you don’t get down and guard and play in a stance and apply some pressure, then people can pick you apart. The first possession of the game we had two defenders go with a cutter and leave a wide open player. There was zero energy.”

Jessica Harris, Gabby Cortez and Latangellia Walker combined to score 30 points in the first two quarters to lead the Warhawks (2-5). ULM also outrebounded Tech 13-10 and outscored the Lady Techsters 9-7 on points off of turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.

“I was calm at halftime,” said Stoehr. “I went in there and said this what we need to do. You need to apply pressure, play in transition and stay connected. Those were our three areas of focus and we did those in the second half. Offensively we were so stagnant in the first half. We stood around and didn’t pass and cut and didn’t screen. It was our energy on the defensive end of the floor when we decided to wake up in the second half that really got us going.”

The Lady Techsters came out of the locker room in the third quarter and looked like a different team. Zhanae Whitney hit a short jumper and Kierra Anthony drilled a corner three-pointer as Tech showed some signs of life on both ends of the floor.

ULM still led 37-31 before Tech scored six straight points, highlighted by a corner three-pointer by Anna McLeod. After a three-pointer by Whitney Goins gave ULM a 40-37 lead, Tech ended the quarter on a 8-4 run. A Malone conventional three-point play with 1:50 to go in the third quarter gave the Lady Techsters their first lead since 2-0.

A Kierra Anthony jumper with 27 seconds to play in the third gave Tech a 45-44 advantage and started a 21-0 run over the seven minutes. It marked the second straight game that saw the Lady Techsters hold its opponent scoreless for more than seven minutes.

Alexus Malone and Anthony led Tech’s second half charge. Malone scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds, 14 points coming in the second half.

“We can’t always wait on Lex to get us going,” said Stoehr. “We need other people. She got in foul trouble. She got two fouls early and basically sat the entire second quarter. We have to have other players step up and lead from an energy and effort stand point when she isn’t on the floor. I thought we did that in the second half.”

Anthony added 16 points and Dixon chipped in with a career-high nine points.

ULM shot only 6-of-26 from the field in the second half and committed 21 of its 32 turnovers in the final two quarters. Tech outscored ULM 26-2 on points off of turnovers in the second half.

Harris led ULM with 13 points, while Walker added 11 and Cortez chipped in with 10. Cortez went down with an injury midway through the third quarter and didn’t return.

Tech returns to action Dec. 18 when it hosts McNeese State.

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