Women's Basketball: Ragin' Cajuns Outlast McNeese In Historic 3OT Game
LAFAYETTE – It took three overtimes, the first triple overtime game in school history, but the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team outlasted the McNeese Cowgirls in the I-10 rivalry game to win 98-86 here at the Cajundome.
The win, which snaps a two-game losing streak for the Cajuns, improves their record to 3-5 while the Cowgirls' record falls to 3-4.
Senior Simone Fields lead the Cajuns in scoring with 25 points and seven rebounds while freshman Skyler Goodwin, playing essentially the entire game, put in a career high 24 points along with six steals to help the Cajuns finish things off in the end.
Seniors Kendra Howard (20 points) and Nekia Jones (17 points) rounded out the Cajuns four players in double-digits as the Cajuns shot 50 percent from the field while holding the Cowgirls to 40 percent shooting.
HOW IT HAPPENED (First Quarter): McNeese came out on fire taking an 8-4 lead early in the quarter, with Dede Sheppard scoring seven points within the first five minutes of the quarter. The score sat at 13-6 with 5:16 to go, but from there the Cajuns turned on the juice.
Powered by six points from Goodwin, on two three-pointers, and a perfect 3 for 3 shooting from Fields, Louisiana went on a tear. They finished the quarter on a 16-2 run to really put some distance in-between them and the Cowgirls as the quarter finished off.
On top of their great shooting in the run, the Cajuns defense was strong forcing five McNeese turnovers to help keep the momentum squarely on the Cajuns half of the court and they ended the first quarter with a seven-point lead and the score sitting at 22-15.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Second Quarter): Louisiana came out in the second quarter and padded their lead to nine with a quick 4-2 run to put the score at 26-17. But an 8-4 run from the Cowgirls midway through the quarter allowed for McNeese to get back into the game and they brought the score within three and the score sat at 30-27 with the clock sitting at 5:19.
McNeese kept chipping away at the Louisiana lead and they got within one point of the Cajuns, with the score at 31-32, at the 2:06 mark of the quarter. But Louisiana's defense was strong and they caused two turnovers over the last two minutes of the quarter to extend their lead to five points at the half.
Louisiana had another five turnovers in the quarter and they shot 46 percent in the quarter to enter the half with the score sitting at 36-31 in the Cajuns favor.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Third Quarter): McNeese cut the lead to four at the seven-minute mark of the quarter with a three-point shot from Keara Hudnall, but the Cajuns answered back with back-to-back baskets from Goodwin and sophomore Malachi-Seraphin Williams.
Things went back and forth through the middle of the quarter and after a scoring drought by both teams down the stretch McNeese tied it with a layup at the 24 second point of the quarter. But Goodwin quickly answered the Cowgirls with a layup under 10 seconds to go to give the Cajuns a 50-48 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Fourth Quarter): As the quarter rolled along both teams again suffered a scoring drought which started after Howard nailed a three-pointer two minutes into the quarter. The drought came to an end with two free throws from Jones, which she followed up with a layup to put the Cajuns up by 10, 59-49.
But McNeese's Sheppard went on a tear, scoring eight of the final 10 points that McNeese scored down the stretch and with a layup from Sheppard with 47 seconds left in the game the game was tied for the fifth time.
Howard had a chance to finish things off but she missed two free throws, taken under 30 seconds left in the game, and with the score sitting at 62-62 the game went into the first overtime period.
HOW IT HAPPENED (First Overtime): One minute into the period the game was tied for the sixth time, 64-64, and a three-point shot by McNeese put the Cowgirls up by three, at the 3:35 mark.
But Louisiana answered with a 7-0 run to go up by four points, 71-64, with under one minute to go. But Sheppard again showed up for the Cowgirls with a steal and a layup, both under 20 seconds, to tie the game for the seventh time and things went into a second overtime with the score tied at 71-71.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Second Overtime): After McNeese took the lead with a three-point shot two minutes into the period, Louisiana jumped ahead by seven points with a 10-0 run fueled by two baskets from Fields and three rebounds by Louisiana.
With the clock sitting at 36 seconds the Cajuns were up 81-74 but the Cowgirls didn't go away. In their final possession and the Cajuns with a three-point lead, 82-79, Sheppard went up for a three and was fouled. She then went to the free throw line with a chance to tie the game. Sheppard drained all three shots to tie things up for the eighth time in the game, and things went into a third overtime with the score sitting at 82-82.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Third Overtime): Louisiana came out and took the reins of the final overtime period going on a 16-4 run through the period, with most of those points coming from the free throw line. They went 10 for 13 from the line down the stretch to finally pull away from the Cowgirls for good, and they finished off the game with those clutch free throws to come away with the marathon win, 98-86.
NOTEWORTHY: Goodwin's 24 points and six steals are both career highs; Fields' 25 points is a season high for the senior forward; Howard's 20 points and eight rebounds are both career highs.
Louisiana outscored the Cowgirls 50-40 with points in the paint; Louisiana outscored the Cowgirls bench 48-10; The 98 points are the most the Cajuns have scored in a game since scoring 90 points at Centenary on Dec. 12, 2010; It's the ninth highest points total in school history.
UP NEXT FOR THE CAJUNS: For the first time since 2005, the Cajuns will take on the Auburn Tigers on Friday, Dec. 8 with tip scheduled for 7 p.m. It's the third of what will be four SEC teams the Cajuns have played this season.
It's only the second time the Cajuns have ever faced off against the Tigers and it's the first time that Auburn has made the trip to Lafayette to face the Cajuns.
FOLLOWING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS: Follow the Cajuns on twitter @RaginCajunsWBB for links to stories and any information regarding the Cajuns as they gear up for their match up against Auburn on Friday, Dec. 8.