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Women’s Basketball: Cajun Tempers Flare in Loss

AUSTIN, Texas – The frustration was obvious to all who watched, and thanks to ESPN a lot of viewers got to see UL’s anguish in a big way.

The Cajuns were halfway through what turned into an 87-58 loss to Marquette in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships, and the "All Access" cameras saw tempers nearly boil over.

Specifically, they saw Cajun senior guard Jeanenne Colbert vehemently letting her teammates know what she thought of UL’s first-half performance.

"It got heated at the half," said guard Onna Charles. "We were trying to motivate each other, trying to do it in a positive way."

What was positive is that Colbert was positively angry, although her comments – not aired since the locker room scenes were video only – were intended to be supportive. She did, though, address many of her teammates by name.

"I didn’t want to go home," said a still-upset Colbert after the game. "I wanted our team to realize that we belonged here, and we needed to start playing like we’re capable of. I didn’t want to go down without at least a fight."

If it had been a fight, it might have been stopped early, and that’s the last thing that the fiery Colbert wanted.

Cajun coach J. Kelley Hall said that anger wasn’t unexpected after a devastating first half. Eleventh-seeded UL was down 30-7 and 35-10 and never came close to recovering.

"I don’t want people to mistakenly think they were after each other," Hall said. "They’re a very competitive group, and they were embarrassed with how they played."

What chances the Cajuns had vanished early, with the 22nd-ranked and sixth-seeded Golden Eagles forcing UL into its worst shooting effort since December.

The Cajun starters were 17of-54 from the field, 3-for-20 from three-point range and 7of-14 from the line.

"We got great looks," Charles said. "We were a little nervous, but we should have stayed more focused."

Colbert and Hall were trying to change the focus that vanished in UL’s first 14 postseason minutes.

The most frustrating: Hall sent UL into a press after a non-shooting foul, and none of the Cajuns picked up Marquette’s Svetlana Kovalenko parked under the UL basket for one of the easiest baseball passes and layups in tournament history.

"At one point, I turned to (co-head coach) Meredith (Hall) and (assistant coach James) "Wooly" (Hatchell) and said I don’t think we can coach," Hall said. "There’s too much to fix."