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La. Tech Earns 25th Straight NCAA Berth

March 11, 2006

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ Tasha Williams scored 19 points and Aarica Ray-Boyd added 15 to lead No. 17 Louisiana Tech past New Mexico State 63-39 in the Western Athletic Conference championship Saturday, sending the Lady Techsters to their 25th straight NCAA tournament.

Shan Moore and Ty Moore each added 10 points for Louisiana Tech (26-4), which overcame 34 percent shooting to win its 15th in a row.

Jenean Ford and Cecilia Russell-Nava each had 10 points for New Mexico State (10-20), which shot 21 percent from the field _ 12.5 percent the first half.

Williams, the tournament MVP, made 5-of-9 field goals and 9-of-14 free throws. Shan Moore had a game-high 10 rebounds for the Lady Techsters, who failed to score the first 6 1/2 minutes of the game and made one of their first 13 shots.

Leading 35-30 midway through the second half, Williams scored seven points on a 16-3 run to give Louisiana Tech a 51-33 lead at 6:15.

Russell-Nava and Monique Bribiescas made back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead to 54-39 at 4:25. But Louisiana Tech answered with a 7-0 run, including Ray-Boyd’s fourth 3-pointer, to put the game away 61-39 with 3:28 left.

Tristan Baker and Bribiescas opened the game with consecutive 3-pointers as New Mexico State jumped out to an 8-0 lead. But the Aggies missed their next 13 3-point attempts and managed a single field goal the rest of the half.

Amber Metoyer’s basket inside started a 9-0 run for the Lady Techsters, capped by Williams’ bucket inside for a 21-14 lead. Louisiana Tech led 23-17 at halftime.

The Lady Techsters won the regular-season title for the fifth straight year in the WAC, the 14th season in a row they have claimed at least a share of a league championship. They are one of only two schools, along with Tennessee, to have played in all 24 previous NCAA women’s tournaments.

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