Defense, Balanced Scoring Lead Cajuns to 81-28 Victory
LAFAYETTE – All 11 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns players scored in the team’s 2015-16 home opener, carrying the Cajuns to an 81-28 victory over Southern-New Orleans Thursday night at Earl K. Long Gymnasium.
The Cajuns (2-0) defense held the Lady Knights to single-digit points in three of the fourth quarters, including a three-point mark in the second quarter. The win puts the Cajuns’ record at 2-0 to start the 2015-16 campaign for the fourth-straight season.
Sophomore forward Simone Fields matched her career high with 15 points off the bench to lead all scorers in the contest.
A 28-12 first quarter run by the Cajuns put the game in doubt in the early stages.
The Cajuns had the hot hand going early, knocking down nine of their first 10 shots and racing to an 18-6 advantage. Wilridge scored six of her 11 total points in the first five minutes of the game. Senior Keke Veal scored seven of her 13 points in the opening quarter, passing Ann Harper and Mary Douglas for sole possession of ninth place on the Cajuns’ all-time scoring list (1,085).
“No doubt, Keke is one of the elite players in this program’s history,” Ragin’ Cajuns head coach Garry Brodhead said. “She is a very good player and can score in bunches. She limited the turnovers tonight as well. She has to keep working hard and we will continue to put the ball in her hands with opportunities to score.”
Taking a 16-point lead into the second quarter, Veal and junior Gabby Alexander combined for the first eight points, all via layups. Back-to-back buckets from Fields in the final 2 ½ minutes added to the lead, putting Southern-New Orleans in a 48-13 hole. The Lady Knights scored their only field goal of the second quarter with 1:20 on the clock.
The second unit of the Cajuns scored eight points in the second quarter. Louisiana capitalized with 10 points off Lady Knight turnovers and outscored SUNO, 11-0 in second chance points.
The game’s point differential in the third quarter reached as many as 47 in favor of the Cajuns with 2:24 on the clock. Five of Fields’ 15 points came in the third quarter off the bench.
Louisiana’s second unit stole the show in the fourth quarter, accounting for all 13 of the team’s points. Freshman center Alex Weeks scored all four of her points in the final quarter.
“We went back to our man-to-man defense,” Brodhead said. “Our goal was to keep them under 42 points which is what we did.
“We had different lineups and wanted to see how different kids guarded,” he added. “We thought they did a great job of keeping them out of the middle of the floor and keeping SUNO off the boards. This defense is always a process – we have to continue rotating kids in and getting the system to work.”
The Cajuns shot 50% (34-of-68) from the floor and knocked down 12-of-16 shots from the charity stripe (75%). In the first quarter alone, the Cajuns made all but two shots (12-of-14) for a sizzling 85.7%.
Next up for Louisiana is a road trip to the University of Houston this Sunday, November 22 where the Cougars await. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.
Season tickets for the 2015-16 campaign are available by calling the Cajundome ticket office at (337) 265-2100, or by emailing DIrector of Tickets, Matt Casbon at [email protected]
For more information on the Louisiana women’s basketball program, fans can Like their Facebook page (/RaginCajunsWBB) or follow the team on Twitter (@RaginCajunsWBB).
Prior to Thursday night’s game, The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns women’s basketball program signed 10-year old Olivia Latiolais at Earl K. Long Gymnasium on the UL-Lafayette main campus. Ragin’ Cajuns Head Coach Garry Brodhead and the Cajuns women’s basketball team were on hand to welcome Olivia, her mother, Ashley and her father, Chad at midcourt as Olivia officially signed to join the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Olivia, a fourth-grade student at Branch Elementary, was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (T-ALL), a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells. Olivia is also suffering from a mild form of Epilepsy. Presently, Olivia is in the “remission” phase and will meet with her oncologist every two months to make sure the cancer cells don’t come back.
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Team IMPACT is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team. Team IMPACT children are drafted on to local college athletic teams and, in effect, become official members of the team from Draft Day through to Graduation. At Team IMPACT, they envision a future where the lives of children facing the hardships associated with adverse issues and events will have access to expanded team-based support networks in order to significantly enhance their quality of life and to fill their lives with more love and laughter. Team IMPACT also strives to provide team-based organizations everywhere an easy and efficient way to have a powerful impact on the lives of children in their community. Established in 2011, Team IMPACT has already matched over 400 children with collegiate teams, improving the quality of life of hundreds of courageous children and touching the lives of over 10,000 student athletes. For more information, please visit: www.goteamimpact.org.