RUSTON - Louisiana Tech will open its regular season Friday night at 7 p.m. when the Lady Techsters host Missouri State, a team that won 24 games last year including a victory over LA Tech.
Doors to the Thomas Assembly Center will open at 5:30 p.m.
"We have to play better (than we did in our exhibition games)," said LA Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon. "Against Missouri State, we better execute offensively. We better finish around the basket. We must get to the free throw line more. And we better rebound the basketball.
"I want us to get out and run in transition. We will show a few clips from last year's game against them. We didn't play well up there. It's important we have a really good first outing at home."
Weatherspoon's team won both of its exhibition games, defeating Arkansas-Monticello 79-52 and Delta State 61-48. During its two preseason victories, the Lady Techsters were led offensively by Whitney Jones (16.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg), Tavasha Anderson (13.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Whitney Frazier (10.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg).
Senior guard Jasmine Bendolph also posted solid numbers across the box score averaging 8.5 points, 4.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per contest.
"It is so important that we get senior leadership, especially early in the year while some of our younger players are getting comfortable. Jasmine is doing a great job of leading and demanding the most out of her teammates. Our freshmen are great competitors and work their tails off. They give major energy every night. They just have to work on the little things."
Missouri State is the preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorites as the Lady Bears return 10 letter winners and four starters from last year's team that posted a 24-11 record, which included a 62-53 win over LA Tech in Springfield.
The Lady Bears are paced by the preseason MVC Player of the Year Casey Garrison, who is bidding to become sixth player in league history to earn first-team all-conference honors four times, and the fifth to win multiple player of the year awards.
Garrison averaged 18.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals last year while hitting 40-of-102 three-pointers and shooting 90 percent at the free throw line (168-187).
The Lady Bears won all three of their exhibition games, defeating Harding (88-56), Northeastern State (71-39) and Missouri Southern (91-58).
The all-time series between the two teams is tied at 1-1 with the Lady Techsters defeated Missouri State (formerly Southwest Missouri State) in the 59-43 in the 1993 NCAA Tournament.