Louisiana Tech sophomore Kelia Shelton sent the game into overtime on a three-point shot with 14 seconds remaining in regulation, giving the Lady Techsters the opportunity to beat the Denver Pioneers in double overtime 82-77 Saturday in Hamilton Gymnasium. It spoiled a very balanced offensive effort by the Pioneers, who had a season-high five players score in double figures, led by junior guard Quincey Noonan and junior forward Maiya Michel with 15 points apiece. Both players also led the team in rebounds with 11 apiece.
After trailing 6-3 early in the game, Denver responded with seven unanswered points and eventually led by as many as 13 points midway through the first half. The Pioneers went into halftime with a 31-23 lead, but increased defensive pressure by Louisiana Tech held the Pioneers to only 29 percent shooting in the second half and allowed the Lady Techsters to get back into the game. After Shelton’s game-tying three-pointer, Denver had two chances to win the game in regulation, but neither Noonan nor sophomore guard Morgan Van Riper-Rose could get their shots to fall. The score at the end of regulation was 67-67.
Both teams struggled shooting throughout both overtime periods, as Louisiana Tech shot 27.3 percent (3-for-11) and Denver shot 15.8 percent (3-for-19). The first overtime ended at 72-72 when a three-point jumper by Denver senior guard Emiko Smith fell short at the buzzer. The Lady Techsters then scored the first six points of the second overtime and led by as many as eight points on its way to a five-point victory.
Shelton led Louisiana Tech in scoring with 26 points, while senior forward Brittany Lewis chipped in 17 points. Sophomore forward Whitney Frazier added 16 points while playing all 50 minutes of the game. Frazier also led the Lady Techsters in rebounds with 11.
The game was the final WAC season opener for both schools, as Louisiana Tech will be joining Conference USA next season while Denver will be joining the Summit League. From 1999-2001, both schools were members of the Sun Belt Conference for two seasons. Louisiana Tech was chosen to finish second in the WAC this season in both the coaches and media preseason polls while Denver was chosen to finish third in both polls.
Denver’s next game is at Magness Arena on Monday, New Year’s Eve, against the Texas-Arlington Mavericks. Game time is 2 p.m. The Mavericks won their WAC opener 62-59 against the New Mexico State Aggies in Las Cruces, N.M. on Saturday.