TULSA – Louisiana Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon called it a team victory.
However, she was also quick to point out that junior point guard Chrisstaisa Walter spearheaded her team’s 82-75 overtime win over Tulsa Wednesday night at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
Walter hit big shot after big shot on her way to a career-high 32 points while adding eight rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks as Louisiana Tech (8-17, 3-9 C-USA) snapped its 14-game road losing streak dating back to last season.
“Chrisstasia has taken some hits this year when she hasn’t taken care of the ball or made good decisions,” Weatherspoon said. “Tonight she was absolutely amazing. She played an amazing game. She hit big shots, grabbed big rebounds and made big plays all night. That is the Chrisstasia Walter that we need the rest of the year.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team. They took pride in their effort tonight. They know there isn’t anything they can do about the past. They gave it everything they had for all 45 minutes. We need to play with this same intensity and focus the rest of the season.”
Walter scored 19 of her career-high 32 points after halftime intermission, including eight in the overtime period. She hit 10-of-18 field goals, 4-of-5 three-pointers and 8-of-9 free throws in the contest.
Her biggest shot of the night came late in overtime. With Tech clinging to a 73-71 lead and the shot clock running down, Walter came off an on-ball screen at the top of the key and drilled a three-pointer with 35 seconds to play to up the advantage to 76-71.
Tech hit 6-of-6 free throws over the final 30 seconds to seal the victory, its first road win since defeating UTSA 78-72 on Feb. 7 of last season.
The Lady Techsters jumped out to an early advantage as Walter scored nine points in the opening four minutes to give LA Tech a 15-2 lead. Tulsa head coach Matilda Mossman pulled all five starters less than two minutes into the game as she saw the Lady Techsters for four turnovers in the early going.
The Golden Hurricane (10-13, 4-8 C-USA) began to chip away at the lead. Tech led 26-15 on Jelena Vucinic’s second three-pointer of the first half, but then Tulsa started to make plays. Back-to-back turnovers by Walter in the final 60 seconds of the first half allowed TU to close the deficit down to 32-31 at the half.
“I thought we came out with great energy,” Weatherspoon said. “Our kids came out and played like they were mad. They were hungry for a win.”
Tulsa tied the game at 34-34 early in the second half before a layup by Walter started an 8-0 run as Whitney Frazier’s conventional three-point play gave Tech a 42-34 advantage with 17:03 to play in regulation.
Tech led 47-42 when JaQuan Jackson and Lulu Perry hit back-to-back three-pointers to push the advantage back out to double digit at 53-42 with 12:30 to play. Tulsa wasted little time in fighting back once again, using a 10-1 run over the next four minutes to close the game to 54-52.
A pair of Frazier free throws with 1:48 to play in regulation gave Tech a 63-60 lead but Tulsa’s Ashley Clark drilled a three-pointer with 1:28 to play to tie the game at 63-63. Walter hit two free throws with 1:00 to play to give Tech a two-point lead but Tulsa answered on a Mariah Turner layup with 42 seconds remaining.
Walter appeared to have given Tech the win with a driving layup with 23 seconds to play but Golden Hurricane guard Kelsee Grovey answered with 10 seconds to play to tie the score. Walter’s 10-footer at the end of regulation was just off as the game went to overtime.
On Tech’s opening possession of OT, Walter hit a three-pointer as the Lady Techsters scored the first six points of the extra period. Tulsa closed the lead to two before Walter’s fourth three-pointer of the game sealed the win.
Frazier added 23 points and eight rebounds while Langston and Jackson each added eight points. Kanedria Andrews tied her career-high with nine rebounds.
Tech returns to action Saturday when it hosts Rice at 6 p.m.