Techsters soar into C-USA semis; Lady Demons bounced from SLC

BASELINE J: Louisiana Tech’s Keiunna Walker fires a shot Thursday afternoon in the Techsters’ quarterfinal victory at the Conference USA Tournament.

JOURNAL STAFF

FRISCO, Texas – Louisiana Tech got 29 points by first-team all-conference guard Keiunna Walker Thursday afternoon to knock out UAB 71-65 and advance to the semifinals of the Conference USA Championships, notching a couple of milestones in the process.

The win gave the Lady Techsters their first 20-win season in 11 years and moved sixth-year head coach Brooke Stoehr into third all-time in wins at Tech with 100.

More importantly, it sent the West Division champions (20-10) into a 7 o’clock matchup tonight with Middle Tennessee (23-6), the second-place finisher in C-USA East. The teams have not met this season.

The Lady Techsters led throughout Thursday’s quarterfinal. When Salma Bates hit a jumper at the halftime buzzer, her fifth buzzer-beater of the season, she extended the Techsters’ lead to 35-26.

UAB made a push in the third quarter, starting with an 11-4 run in the first two minutes to draw within 39-37. Tech was able to close the quarter with two baskets for a 51-46 advantage into the final period.

The Techsters used more timely buckets and big stops in the final quarter including a big corner three from Amaya Brannon in a two-point game and a Walker steal and layup to keep UAB at bay.

UNO 57, NORTHWESTERN STATE 48: The Lady Demons (12-14) committed 22 turnovers, were outrebounded by nine and sank just 3 of 20 from behind the 3-point arc while bowing out of the Southland Conference Tournament quarterfinals in Katy, Texas. NSU held a 24-18 lead with 4:06 left in the half, but the Privateers (5-17) scored 11 unanswered to end the period and took command afterward. The Lady Demons went scoreless for more than seven minutes at the end of the half and into the third, then had another four-minute drought that allowed the Privateers to take a 47-31 lead into the final period.

GRAMBLING: After upsetting second-seeded Alabama A&M Wednesday, the No. 7 Lady Tigers (14-16) take on third-seeded Alabama State (14-14) at 11 a.m. today in the Southwestern Athletic Conference semifinals. Jackson State (18-0 in the SWAC regular season) and No. 4 Southern meet in the other semi with the championship contest at 1:30 Saturday in Birmingham.

Photo courtesy LOUISIANA TECH