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NCAA TOURNAMENT Louisiana Tech shows OSU women the door



Published: Sat, March 29, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Buckeyes are winless in five games against the Lady Techsters.

RUSTON, La. (AP) -- The chant started in the closing minutes of Louisiana Tech's 74-61 victory over Ohio State.

"Bring on the Tigers," the crowd demanded, eager to see Tech take on LSU in the round of 16.

"I thought I'd get 30 seconds to enjoy this one," Tech coach Kurt Budke said.

Cheryl Ford led Tech to the next round of the NCAA tournament, scoring 25 points and collecting 15 rebounds in a 74-61 victory over Ohio State Tuesday night in the West regional.

"It was real emotional knowing this was my last one at home," Ford said. "But we don't want to stop here."

Fifth-seeded Tech (31-2) extended the longest winning streak in the nation to 29 straight games and improved to 36-0 overall at home in NCAA tournament games.

"That's what I heard from everyone, how long the post season streak was," Budke said. "We didn't want that to go down tonight."

Shook off sluggishness

The Techsters shook off their early sluggishness to end fourth-seeded Ohio State's first NCAA tournament appearance since 1999. The Buckeyes (22-10) are winless in five games against Louisiana Tech.

"I think we improved in a lot of areas this season," said first-year Ohio State coach Jim Foster. "This is a big offseason. I think the biggest improvement in intercollegiate athletics is made between the freshman and sophomore years. I feel as though we were all freshmen this year."

Trina Frierson scored 18 for Tech and Amber Obaze added 17.

DiDi Reynolds scored 16 for Ohio State, shooting 4-for-5 on 3-point attempts. Caity Matter also scored 16 and Courtney Coleman had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Both Ohio State and Louisiana Tech rely on their inside games and defense. Tech held the Buckeyes scoreless for almost eight minutes in the second half.

"We weren't doing as well on the boards as we did in the first half," Reynolds said. "That seemed to break our backs a little bit. We just weren't hitting the shots we normally do."

Although Ford struggled early as Ohio State double- and triple-teamed her under the basket, she adjusted late in the first half and so did Tech.

"I picked it up and posted harder," Ford said. "And when the guards started hitting the outside shots then they had to go out and guard them and Trina and I just posted up harder."

Took up the slack

Ford picked up her third foul three minutes into the second half, but Frierson took up the slack, scoring three quick baskets to stretch the Techsters' lead to 55-46 with 14:15 left.

After a couple of turnovers in the first minute, the Buckeyes settled down and led 27-20 with 9:13 left.

Tech tied it at 27 on Ford's basket with 7:13 remaining and was up 45-39 at halftime.

"Ford is a great player," Foster said. "She's the best I've seen in years."




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