The South Carolina women's basketball team passed their first road test with flying colors,…
WBB: Gamecocks take to road
Time: 8 p.m. (ET)
Location: Ruston, La.
Arena: Thomas Assembly Center (8,098)
Radio: WISW 1320 AM (Brad Muller); GamecocksOnline.com
Live Stats: GamecocksOnline.com
LA Tech Series: LA Tech leads 3-1; In Ruston: LA Tech leads 2-0; In Columbia: LA Tech leads 1-0; At Neutral Site: SC leads 1-0
Traditionally Louisiana Tech is one of the top programs in the nation. The Lady Techsters have 27 NCAA Tournament appearances, won three national championships, 13 Final Four appearances, and have at least advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in 23 of those appearances. Louisiana Tech has the best winning percentage (.816) of any program, including Tennessee and UConn.
However, in recent years they have not been the Louisiana Tech of old. After making the Big Dance every year from 1982-2006 the Lady Techsters have just two appearances in the last six years (2010-11). They were just 17-15 last season, their second-worst record in program history as the 2007-08 team went 16-15. Still, going into Ruston is a difficult task for any team, much less a team that touts four freshmen and one JUCO player that is in her first year in the program.
"Especially with a young team, we've got to get them acquainted to playing in a hostile arena, because it's a hostile atmosphere there," Ieasia Walker said Friday following the win. "We just have to stay intact."
The Senior knows what she's talking about. Since the Thomas Assembly Center opened in November of 1982, the Lady Techsters have been virtually unbeatable at home. The Lady Techsters are a mind-boggling 410-46 at the TAC, a winning percentage of 90%, despite struggling to a 7-6 record at home a year ago.
"Louisiana Tech, the tradition of playing there, I don't think a whole lot of people have success there," Staley said Friday night. "I think their style of play will probably bother us a little bit because they're young, they're athletic and they pressure you. Hopefully we can work on a few things in the next two days and hopefully be the more disciplined basketball team on Monday night."
Freshmen Tiffany Davis, Tiffany Mitchell, Kadijah Sessions, and Asia Dozier will be making their first road trip, while JUCO transfer Wilka Montout will be traveling to a hostile environment for the first time as well.
The Lady Techsters are young as well. They lost six of their top eight scorers from a year ago, including the top three scorers. Forward Whitney Frazier is their leading returner, averaging nine points per game last year. Tavasha Anderson averaged five points per game last season.
"They're going to pressure us, which means we're going to attack the basket and get fouled. That's something we really have to start improving on, because we're going to go to the line a lot," Walker said. "We've just got to turn the page, come in tomorrow and work on what we can control, like our rebounding."
G - Ieasia Walker
G - Sancheon White
G - Tiffany Mitchell
F - Aleighsa Welchs
F - Ashley Bruner
G - Lulu Perry
G - Jelena Vucinic
G - Janay Borum
F - Brittany Lewis
F - Whitney Frazier
Next Game - South Carolina returns home to host Savannah State Thursday night.
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