San Jose, Calif. - Ta'Rea Cunnigan scored a career-best 17 points and two other Spartans also hit double figure scoring, but the San Jose State women's basketball team could not overcome hot shooting by the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (9-10, 2-2 WAC) and lost 70-64 on Saturday night in The Event Center.
The Lady Techsters came into the game shooting just 30 percent (64-of 207) from the floor and 22 percent (12-of-53) from behind the arc in their three previous Western Athletic Conference games. Against San Jose State (7-11, 2-1 WAC), they hit 42 percent and 35 percent from the floor and from 3-point range, respectively.
The Spartans, who haven't beaten Louisiana Tech in 21 tries, had their best performance ever against this conference foe. Losing by an average of 26 points in the 10 previous games played in San Jose, SJSU lost by just six tonight.
"We had a lot of momentum coming into the game," head coach Tim La Kose said. "We had won four-in-a-row and had a good game plan for them, but they hit some clutch threes and made some big shots inside. We just didn't capitalize on our opportunities when they came."
The Spartans jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes, led by five of Brittany Johnson's team-high 18 points. Johnson added 10 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the year. She has now scored in double figures in 19 straight games including all 18 this season.
A 3-pointer by Louisiana Tech's Whitney Jones, who finished with 16 points, sparked a 15-to-0 streak for the Techsters to make the score 15-7 with 14:53 to go before the half. With 6:30 to go, San Jose State trimmed the lead to 28-26 on a Myesha Broaden layup, but Louisiana Tech took a 37-33 advantage into the locker rooms.
To open the second half San Jose State went scoreless for the first five minutes, seeing Louisiana Tech go on a 9-to-0 run. They were led by four points from Shantale Bramble-Donaldson, who finished the game with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
The Louisiana Tech had its largest lead, 50-34 with 14:31 to play, but 16-to-5 streak led by seven points each from Cunnigan and Johnson cut the Techsters lead to five at 55-50 with 8:07 to play. San Jose State got as close as four points, 68-64 with 36 seconds to play, but time ran out and they lost 70-64.
"This was a game of runs." La Kose said. "In the first half we opened with one and they came back. In the second half they opened with one and we came back, but we just couldn't make the big stop. They would make a big play, hit a big shot or get a big rebound and that was the difference."
Sara Plavljanin was the third Spartans in double figures with 14 points and four assists.
San Jose State returns to action on Thursday, January 26 when they travel to Fresno State for their nect WAC contest. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.