MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- Erica Smith-Taylor had quite a weekend in
the first two rounds of the Mideast Regional.
The junior guard scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 11
rebounds Monday night, leading Louisiana Tech to an 81-64 victory
over Texas Tech and into the NCAA round of 16.Louisiana Tech plays either Duke or Marquette in the regional
semifinals Sunday in Norfolk, Va.Smith-Taylor surpassed her previous career high by one point,
which she set in the first round. She made 10 of 16 shots,
including four 3-pointers, and had seven assists to lead the
fifth-seeded Lady Techsters (29-2) to their 20th straight win."We honestly don't draw up stuff for Erica in our timeouts.
Maybe we should," Louisiana Tech coach Kurt Budke said. "But one
of our strengths is our balance. We take what's there. With
everybody double- and triple-teaming our posts, it's there."She's just willing us to win. She's not going to let us
lose," he said.Amber Obaze added 14 points, Amisha Carter had 13 points and 14
rebounds, and Trina Frierson scored 11 of her 13 points in the
second half for Louisiana Tech.Fourth-seeded Texas Tech (25-8) pulled to 43-39 early in the
second half on a basket by Chesley Dabbs, but Frierson converted a
three-point play followed by a basket. Smith-Taylor then hit a
3-pointer to put Louisiana Tech up 51-39 with 16:26 remaining."I'm disappointed we didn't defend her better," Texas Tech
coach Marsha Sharpe said, "but she's one of the best wing players
in the country. She's as good as anybody in the country, just maybe
not as well known."From there, Texas Tech got no closer than 59-48 on a 3-pointer
by Alesha Robertson with 12:29 remaining. Louisiana Tech led by as
many as 21 points."I'd like to congratulate Louisiana Tech. They played great,"
Sharpe said. "They were certainly more athletic at every position.
I'm really impressed with their basketball team. I'm disappointed
we didn't hang around longer and answer the bell. I hope it was a
good learning experience for our younger players to understand what
it takes at this level."Texas Tech guard Erin Grant scored all 19 of her points in the
first half to keep the game close, but was held to 0-of-4 shooting
in the second half."I think they were taking away the drive all the way to the
lane a little more," Grant said. "I had some good shots, they
just didn't fall. That was the difference."Budke told his team at halftime that shutting down Grant was the
key to the game."We had the posts stepping out and we helped from the wings,"
Budke said. "We tried to clog it up more and have Erin shoot
8-footers instead of 2-footers."Neither team led by more than three points until Carter scored
four straight points to put Louisiana Tech up 33-28 with 4:26 left
in the first half.Smith-Taylor hit back-to-back baskets, the second a 3-pointer,
followed by a 3-pointer by Lakiste Barkus to put Louisiana Tech up
43-32 with 1:44 left in the half.Grant scored three points in the final 1:16 to make it 43-35 at
halftime.Robertson added 13 points for Texas Tech, and Casey Jackson had
12 rebounds.Louisiana Tech outrebounded Texas Tech 47-37."They were monsters on the boards," Jackson said.