Lady Techsters rout Georgia State 84-48
RUSTON, La. (AP) -- As far as first-round blowouts go, this one was pretty tame for Louisiana Tech.
Takeisha Lewis and Kenya Bibbs each scored 17 points as the Lady Techsters overwhelmed Georgia State 84-48 in the first round of the women's NCAA tournament Saturday night.
Louisiana Tech, seeded third in the East regional, is hosting a subregional for the ninth straight year. The Lady Techsters improved to 33-0 in NCAA tournament games at Thomas Assembly Center and extended their current overall winning streak to 17 games.
The opening round has been especially humbling for those teams unfortunate enough to be sent to Ruston. The Lady Techsters (29-4) had won their previous eight NCAA openers by an average of 40 points, including two of more than 50 points.
Coach Leon Barmore, in his 19th season at Louisiana Tech, wasn't thrilled with his team's latest rout.
"We didn't play one of our better basketball games from start to finish," said Barmore, who has guided the Lady Techsters to 13 Final Fours and three national titles. "We didn't look all that good at times, but at other times we did. But we're in the second round of the NCAA tournament."
Georgia State, however, was impressed.
"This team is just a different level," said Kara Edwards, who scored 13 for the Lady Panthers.
The most encouraging part of Louisiana Tech's performance was probably the play of Bibbs, the Lady Techsters' top reserve. Bibbs, who averages 9.3 points per game, had slumped recently, scoring 10 points total in the last four games.
"I knew what I had to do. I couldn't just be invisible anymore," said the 6-foot-1 junior.
The Lady Panthers (24-7), seeded 14th and playing in their first NCAA tournament, managed to pull within 19 points with just under eight minutes left.
In danger of winning an NCAA opener at home by less than 20 points for the first time since 1990, Louisiana Tech reeled off nine straight points, the last six on consecutive 3s by Brooke Lassiter to make the score 70-40 with 4:22 left.
Georgia State trailed only 26-22 with 5:13 left in the first half. But the Lady Techsters closed the half with a 15-3 run.
Louisiana Tech then began the second half right where it left off, dominating inside with its superior size and allowing Georgia State few open shots.
And when the Lady Techsters weren't forcing missed shots, they were forcing turnovers. The Lady Panthers turned the ball over 30 times.
Leslie McElrath led Georgia State with 17 points.
Louisiana Tech will play 11th seeded TCU, which defeated Penn State in Saturday's first game at Ruston.