LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) _ No. 4 Louisiana Tech, led by reserve Maquisha Walker's 18 points, opened Thursday night's game with a 15-1 burst and coasted to a 96-43 Sun Belt Conference victory over Southwestern Louisiana.

Tech (21-3), playing without injured second-leading scorer Debra Williams, improved to 10-1 in the Sun Belt standings, a half-game in front of Lamar. USL fell to 3-18 and 1-9.

Tech, which also had a 51-19 rebounding edge, held the Lady Cajuns scoreless for the first four minutes and forced USL to miss its first 10 shots from the field. USL did not hit its first field goal until a Christie Lofton basket made it 17-5 with 11:22 to go in the first half.

It was 47-11 at halftime and Tech expanded that lead to as much as 55 points, at 96-41, with 22 seconds left in the game.

Racquel Spurlock added 14 points, Vickie Johnson 13 and Yen Quach 12 for Tech. LaShawn Brown also hauled in 11 rebounds.

Monique Melancon's 11 points led Southwestern.