Illinois to face No. 20 Louisiana Tech on the road

Online Poster

Online Poster

By Derek Barichello

After losing 72-43 to Wisconsin-Green Bay, the Illini women’s basketball team is looking for better results on Saturday against No. 20 Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La.

The Illini are 3-1 on the season after losing on Wednesday night.

Louisiana Tech is off to a 2-1 start, defeating Mississippi 88-70 and Arkansas State 67-50 and falling to Mississippi State on Tuesday. The Techsters are scheduled to play Western Kentucky at home on Thursday to tune up for the Illini.

Head coach Theresa Grentz said the Illini are going to have to get off to a good start in the game. In the Illini’s previous three games, they fell behind in the first half. In the games against St. Joseph’s and St. Peter’s, they were able to come back and win; but against Wisconsin-Green Bay, with their 18-0 scoring run, they couldn’t come back.

On Wednesday night, senior forward Angelina Williams was shut down. She scored just seven points and went 3-12 from the field, not scoring a single point in the second half.

Williams, who leads the team in scoring with 14 points per game, is going to have to be more of a factor.

Louisiana Tech is led by senior guard Lakiste Barkus, who averages 17.5 points per game and 7.5 rebounds, junior guard Tasha Cain who averages 16.5 points and five assists and sophomore forward Tamika Kursh, who averages 10 points.

Louisiana Tech has struggled in its last two games, averaging only 61.0 points and shooting well under 40 percent. The Techsters are without their top scoring threat, Erica Taylor.

Louisiana Tech head coach Kurt Budke said he would like to go inside against the Illini, which means junior center Brittney Daugherty, sophomore forward Audrey Tabon and freshman forwards Danyel Crutcher and Stephanie Chelleen will have to step up.

“How exactly are we going to get our points? Well, we haven’t gotten the ball inside enough,” Budke said. “Even if our post players don’t shoot a lot, we have to get the ball inside to create double teams, free-throw opportunities and scoring chances. Against the Illini, our posts have to work hard to get open and our guards have to do a better job of finding them.”

Last season, Louisiana Tech defeated Illinois 67-61 at Assembly Hall in the first ever meeting between the two teams.