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Wednesday, March 26
Lady Techsters hit road to take on speedy LSU

Associated Press

RUSTON, La. -- Louisiana Tech had a lot going for it in the first two rounds of the NCAA West Regional.

The Techsters took two impressive victories, including a 74-61 win against No. 20 Ohio State in the second round of the tournament.

It stretched sixth-ranked Louisiana Tech's winning streak to 29 games -- the longest in the nation -- and gave it a 36-0 mark in NCAA tournament games played at home.

The home court for Tech is a major advantage, even Tech coach Kurt Budke admits.

"I just think our crowd was unbelievable,'' Budke said. "They were as loud as I've heard them. It's not fair, but it's the system we have.''

The home court advantage is over, however. Next, Tech faces No. 1 seed LSU on Sunday in the West Region semifinal in Palo Alto, Calif., on the campus of Stanford University.

The game is a rematch of the 1999 West Regional semifinal when Tech defeated LSU 73-52 and eventually advanced to the Final Four in San Jose.

"One thing that our team has done well all year is we've traveled well,'' Budke said. "You know what? We've been to California a couple of times. So we know the territory out there.''

Playing LSU on Sunday, Budke expects to have more problems than the lack of a friendly fan base.

"Their 10 athletes are probably the quickest 10 athletes as a team in the country,'' Budke said. "They beat Tennessee by, I think, 17 in the SEC championship and beat Texas, the Big 12 champion, by 18. They are a legitimate contender for the national crown.''

Louisiana Tech shook off an eight-day layoff before the first two rounds of the tournament and came up with big victories in both of their games.

The Techsters confidence is high, Budke said. They have not lost since the fourth game of the season.

"LSU is a great team and very deserving of the No. 1 seed,'' Budke said. "But our team is afraid of nobody. We're going to come to play and we'll see what happens. We're playing some pretty good basketball.''



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