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Women’s Basketball: Cajuns Fall to Little Rock in SBC Tournament Semifinals

NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns women’s basketball team fell, 63-52 to No. 2 seeded Little Rock in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament semifinals on Friday afternoon at Lakefront Arena.

The Cajuns shot 43.1% (22-of-51) from the floor and hit just one three-pointer in 10 attempts. Senior Keke Veal led the Cajuns with 17 points to go with three steals and an assist. Fellow senior Kia Wilridge added 13 points, four assists and three steals.

The game was highlighted with five ties and three lead changes.

The two teams were caught in a defensive battle in the opening quarter, as Little Rock came out with a 12-11 lead after the first 10 minutes. Wilridge scored five of the Cajuns’ 11 points in the early going.

In the second quarter, the Cajuns fell behind, 14-11, but a three-pointer by Veal knotted the game at 14-14. An 8-0 run by the Cajuns ensued and they took a 22-14 lead with 6:29 left on the clock.

Little Rock finished the first half on a 12-2 run to close the gap to 26-24 by the intermission. The Cajuns collected 10 points in the paint and eight points off turnovers in the second quarter alone.

In the third quarter, with the game tied at 29-29 with 7:03 to go, the two teams exchanged buckets for the next four possessions, until a three by Sharde’ Collins put the Trojans ahead, 36-33 with 3:41 to play.

Cajuns senior Brooklyn Arceneaux hit a jumper with 1:04 left in the third to close the gap to five points at 42-37.

In the fourth quarter, Louisiana could only close the deficit to five on two occasssions (46-41 with 8:01 left, and 48-43 with 7:22 left). Little Rock’s lead ballooned to nine following buckets by Alexius Dawn and Keanna Keys with 4:44 to play.

Louisiana pulled to within six at 54-48 thanks to back-to-back jumpers from Veal, but Little Rock held off the Cajuns for the remainder of the game.

The Cajuns made just 53.8% (7-of-13) of their free throws and turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 14 points for Little Rock.