Tech upsets Bulldogs to win WAC tourney
RENO, Nev. – Louisiana Tech knew it had to win the Western Athletic Conference tournament title to make the school’s first trip back to the NCAA women’s basketball tourney since 2006.
Star forward Shanavia Dowdell still isn’t sure exactly how they did it.
The 6-foot-2 senior had 20 points and 19 rebounds and Jasmine Bendolph hit an 18-footer with 33 seconds left to help snap top-seeded Fresno State’s 19-game winning streak with a 68-66 upset Saturday in the WAC title game.
“I don’t know what got into me,” said Dowdell, the tourney MVP. “I was just out there saying, ‘Let’s go.’ I just wanted to help my team any way I could.”
Whitney Jones added 13 points and Tarkeisha Wysinger and Adrienne Johnson 10 each for the Lady Techsters (23-8), who had been to 25 consecutive NCAA tournaments until the streak ended in the 2006-07 season. They won the national championship in 1988 and were the runner-up in 1983, 1987, 1994 and 1998.
“It was beautiful to see how hard our kids wanted it,” Tech coach Teresa Weatherspoon said.
“The key today was simple. It was who wanted it the most,” she said. “Our kids played their hearts out.”
Hayley Munro had 15 points and Jaleesa Ross 14 for Fresno State (27-6), which shot only 34 percent from the field and was out-rebounded 49-35 but should still receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney.
“It took a good effort to beat us,” Bulldogs coach Adrian Wiggins said.
“Thankfully this isn’t the last basketball game this team will play this year. We’re looking forward to the next step. … We still have our goals ahead of us,” he said.
“La Tech is very physical. This game will be good for us. NCAA teams are very physical. We have to be ready for that,” Wiggins said.
The game was in doubt until the final buzzer, and Weatherspoon knew it would be.
“To beat them you have to keep playing hard the whole 40 minutes. Fresno won’t quit coming,” she said. “That’s a good basketball team we beat today.”
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