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Women’s Basketball: Louisiana snaps streak with SBC home-opening win

Kevin Foote, The Advertiser, Jan. 11, 2019

Click here for the game photo gallery.

UL women’s coach Garry Brodhead said he certainly didn’t keep track how long it had been since his Ragin’ Cajuns won their last regular season game.

It was Nov. 19 in a 68-61 win over Jackson State, ironically one day after the New Orleans Saints beat Philadelphia, 48-7.

Brodhead said he also wasn’t real clear on how many losses his team has endured so far this season.

More: UL Insider: Can the Cajuns avoid starting the season 1-4?

But Brodhead and his team all knew how good it felt for that nine-game losing streak to end Thursday with a 57-54 win over Georgia State in the Cajundome.

“I thought we played with a lot of effort,” Brodhead said. “That gave us a chance to win. Our rebounding was big, making stops.

“I like that we ended the game with a stop, instead of a score. We’ve still got to get better, a little more consistent, but I saw improvement tonight. That’s what we’ve been waiting for: to just find a way to win.”

Dominating the scoring for the winning Cajuns (3-11, 1-2) were Ty’Reona Doucet with 23 points and seven rebounds and Jomyra Mathis with 14 points and two boards.

“Losing is motivating for you,” Doucet said. “This game, we had it in our mind that we were going to win. Winning feels good. It lets us know that we can beat any team in the conference.”

More: Ragin’ Cajuns make ‘dream’ first offer to West Monroe defensive end

The sophomore, however, did admit the losses were beginning to get to her confidence.

“The last two games, I haven’t been playing like I need to, so I knew I had to do better this game,” Doucet said.

Mathis definitely relished the joy of victory.

“Losing is never fun, but you can learn from it,” Mathis said. “Like our coaches always say, you can learn from a win and also a loss. It (losing) motivates you. You have the taste in your mouth for a ‘W.’

“This ‘W’ feels great. We played as a team and we played hard. As we continue the process, I think we’ll do some great things.”

Mathis delivered two clutch 3-pointers in the second half to help give the Cajuns just enough cushion to hold off Georgia State’s charge.

More: UL women remain confident despite losing streak

The first one made it 43-39 Cajuns midway through the third after Georgia State had narrowed the gap to one. The second earned UL a 50-44 lead early in the fourth.

“My team believed in me,” Mathis said. “They got me the ball. My coaches believed in me. They kept telling me on the sidelines, ‘Get ready to shoot, get ready to shoot.’ They installed that confidence in me. I was, ‘I’ve got to knock these down.’ They believe in me, so I’ve got to step up.”

Despite the final three-point deficit, the Cajuns never trailed in the game.

The Cajuns jumped out to a quick 12-0 lead, but Brodhead probably knew deep down his team would have to work extra hard for this win.

His favorite part of the win was that it ended with a defensive stop, not a bucket.

But by the 6:26 mark in the second quarter, Georgia State had narrowed the gap to 19-16 and the game was competitive the rest of the way.

Jada Lewis had 18 points in the first half, but the Cajuns limited her to just four in the second half.

“We gave her too much room,” Brodhead said. “She had 18 at half. We made that adjustment of trying to pressure her.”

The Cajuns limited the Panthers to 32 percent shooting from the field, while the Cajuns shot 45.8 percent.

More: Cajuns find no solutions in losing SBC opener

“I think our defense is so much predicated about keeping the ball out of the middle,” Brodhead said. “And then getting in position to take charges. Then we kind of got away from that when they started to make their runs.

“We started to not pressure the ball as much. We probably felt like we were getting beat and we weren’t. As long as you’re getting beat to the sidelines, it’s not that bad.”

With a win under their belts now, Brodhead’s Cajuns strive for a streak of a different kind when they host Georgia Southern at 2 p.m. Saturday.

“I’m sure it (losing streak) was tougher on the girls, especially this group,” he said. “They come in and work hard every day and believe in one another, but they weren’t seeing the results.

“I just tell them every loss is on me. It’s not on them. Today was theirs. They win every game and I lose every game. I’ve got to get them ready.”