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Stealing a win

Louisiana Tech relies on defense to pull out a 79-62 win

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Posted: Monday March 15, 1999 02:28 PM

  Louisiana Tech's Monica Maxwell (rear) puts pressure on Penn State's Helen Darling. AP

RUSTON, La. (AP) -- A smothering defense produced all the offense Louisiana Tech needed against Penn State.

The No. 3-ranked Lady Techsters forced 29 turnovers and made 16 steals on their way to a 79-62 second round win in the women's West Regional on Sunday.

"We just beat a very sound basketball team," said Tech head coach Leon Barmore. "There's a lot of teams who, had they been in our position at the end of the first half, might not have been able to come back.

"I thought we showed a lot of energy and enthusiasm in the second half and that's what really got us going after they did a great job of coming back from an early 9-0 deficit. At this time of the year, you have to have that kind of effort to stay in this tournament."

The Lady Techsters led just 33-30 before going on runs of 9-2 and 25-7 in the second half. Much of the momentum came from outstanding defense and an up-tempo attack.

Freshman Ayana Walker came off the bench and grabbed nine rebounds, while blocking four shots. She also scored seven points.

"I was just trying to come in and do a good job," said Walker. "I guess it was my time to shine."

Amanda Wilson led Tech with 16 points. LaQuanda Stallworth and Tamicha Jackson added 15 points apiece, and Monica Maxwell had 10 as Louisiana Tech (28-2) won its 20th straight game and advanced to the regional semifinals in Los Angeles.

Tech will play the winner of Monday night's second-round game between LSU and Notre Dame.

Penn State (22-8) got 18 points from Andrea Garner, who dislocated a kneecap in Friday's first-round game against Virginia.

"We withstood a big storm early on, then ran into a bigger one later in the second half," said Penn State head coach Rene Portland. "I thought Tech really picked things up physically and energy-wise. They got a lot of big buckets off of the turnovers they created."

Shawnta Vanzant added 15 points and Lisa Shepherd 14.

"I think we proved we belong with the top teams in the country," said Vanzant. "We don't have anything to be ashamed of. We gave a good effort. We just came up a little short."

 
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