NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns women’s basketball team is headed to the Sun Belt Championship game following a 79-71 win over top-seeded Little Rock on Saturday at Lakefront Arena.
No. 5-seeded Louisiana (20-10 SBC, 11-7 SBC) will play No. 3-seeded Troy in the SBC Final on Sunday at 6 p.m.
The Cajuns took a 67-65 lead when Jaylyn Gordon, who led Louisiana with 21 points, made a layup with 4:12 left in the game. Simone Fields then connected on a jumper to give the Cajuns a 69-65 lead with 3:38 remaining in the contest.
Louisiana led 71-67 after Fields made another jumper with 2:59 to go in the game. Two free throws from Fields put the Cajuns in front 73-67 with 2:06 left in the game.
Little Rock (24-8, 17-1 SBC) cut the lead to 73-71 on a jumper by Sharde’ Collins with 1:25 remaining in the contest.
Gordon scored the last four points of the game to seal the deal for Louisiana and put the Ragin’ Cajuns in the Sun Belt Tournament Final for only the third time in program history.
The Cajuns shot a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line and went 32-for-58 (55.2%) from the floor in the win.
Louisiana started the game hot and led 9-2 after two free throws from Gordon with 7:02 to go in the game.
The Trojans responded and a deep 3-pointer from Monique Townson at the buzzer gave Little Rock a 22-19 lead at the end of the first frame.
Townson hit another trey to cap off a 10-2 run by the Trojans and put Little Rock in front 31-21 with 6:14 left in the second period.
The Cajuns then reeled off a 9-2 run of their own to cut the lead to 33-30 with 3:46 remaining in the contest. Louisiana held a 40-38 lead at halftime.
Collins, who led the Trojans with 27 points, made a layup while being fouled and connected on the free throw to give Little Rock a 49-42 lead with 5:01 to go in the game.
Louisiana then went on a 13-1 run that was capped off by an old-fashioned 3-point play from Gordon to give the Cajuns a 55-50 lead at the end of the third frame.
Little Rock led 61-59 when Collins connected on a trey with 6:49 left in the contest. Kaitlyn Pratt made a jumper to put the Trojans in front 63-61 with 5:56 to play.
That was the last lead of the game for Little Rock as the Cajuns used consistent inside shooting and a perfect touch from the free throw line to secure the win.
Louisiana will seek its first-ever Sun Belt Tournament Championship on Sunday at 6 p.m. All games of the 2017 Sun Belt Conference Women’s Basketball Championship are played at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans and broadcast live on ESPN3.
Fans can purchase tickets for $14 each online at RaginCajuns.com or in person at the Baseball Box Office on Sunday from 11:30-2:30 p.m.