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Women’s Basketball: Coaching milestone no big deal to Hall

Women’s Basketball: Coaching milestone no big deal to Hall

Women’s Basketball: Coaching milestone no big deal to Hall

Bruce Brown

J. Kelley Hall is the all-time winningest women’s basketball coach for Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns, but he certainly hasn’t let his 58 victories go to his head.
"It just means that either people didn’t stay around very long before, or they haven’t been very good," Hall said with a chuckle this week. "But, to be the leader, with 58 wins in 3 1/2 years, is a good thing.

"Obviously, I’ve had a good coaching staff and good players. You don’t do this kind of thing on your own."

The Cajuns tied a school record with last year’s 22-9 finish and won the Sun Belt Conference West Division for the first time in school history. They’re in contention again this year to win the West – both campaigns a long way from winless seasons in the past and a 44-226 mark in the 1990’s.
"People expect a lot now," Hall said. "They expect us to get 20 wins and to win the West every year. I know that next year we’re going to be very good."

WEST RACE: North Texas, South Alabama, Louisiana and Denver all have a shot at the Sun Belt Conference West Division captured last year by the Cajuns.

It’s a race that figures to go down to the wire, and one that has been a bit of a surprise for Hall.

"The first time we played North Texas, I thought they were very good," Hall said of UNT’s 70-47 win that snapped UL’s 22-game winning streak at Earl K. Long Gym. "After that, I was shocked that North Texas has a couple of the losses they do.

"If the season ended today, we would be in fourth place. But, I like our schedule and South Alabama’s schedule of the ones still in it."

The Cajuns could have made life a bit easier if they had topped Middle Tennessee on the road on Jan. 26. As it is, Ashley Blanche’s jumper was a tick too late, preserving MT’s 69-68 win.

"Any one of six or seven teams can technically win the conference on any given day," Hall said.

For those who like looking ahead, the final Sun Belt weekend features Arkansas-Little Rock at UL, North Texas at South Alabama, Denver at Troy, Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky and New Orleans at Arkansas State.

Then, just before the tournament, MT visits dangerous Florida International on Monday, Feb. 27.

There’s a chance nothing will truly be settled before then.

CAJUNS’ M*A*S*H UNIT: Blanche got a green light on Tuesday to play again despite a hairline fracture of her right forearm. Her 12-day absence was the latest blow to the UL roster.

A preseason auto accident took out Elaine McCants for the season (she’s rehabbing and hoping to play again) and delayed Jeanenne Colbert’s contributions until recently.

Also, freshman Blair Brodhead is being redshirted while doctors weigh aggressive, non-surgical treatment for her injured foot. She was already coming back from an anterior cruciate ligament injury from her senior year at Teurlings Catholic.

And redshirting freshman center Erin Kacy will find out soon whether she can resume her career after knee surgery in the last year.

Originally published February 9, 2006