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Women's Basketball: Ragin' Cajuns Defense Locks Down Win At Georgia Southern
STATESBORO, Ga. – A stifling defensive performance and yet another game by sophomore Jasmine Thomas doing just about everything, gave the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team their third straight road Sun Belt Conference win over the Georgia Southern Eagles, 58-48, at Hanner Fieldhouse.
The win improves the Cajuns record to 13-11 (8-4 SBC) and it gives them a sweep of the Georgia trip, while the Eagles suffered their third straight loss and it drops their record to 5-19 (2-11 SBC). Louisiana held the Eagles to the lowest shooting percentage they've held a team to all season, 25 percent, and the 48 points is the fourth time that the Cajuns have held a team to under 50 points this season, third time in conference play.
Thomas finished with 15 points, a career high nine rebounds, five assists and three steals to yet again set the tempo in the game for the Cajuns. Senior Troi Swain added 14 points on 5-14 shooting, while senior Simone Fields was solid on the night finishing with 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting 63 percent and she had seven rebounds
HOW IT HAPPENED (First Quarter): Things started slowly for both teams offensively, but the Cajuns defense played a big role in the slow start for Georgia Southern. They drew a charge and had two blocks over the first five minutes of the game and the Eagles didn't get their first basket of the game until the 6:17 mark of the quarter.
Both teams entered a bit of a stretch through the heart of the quarter, but during the final three minutes of the quarter the Cajuns began to get their shots to fall, while maintaining their defensive fortitude. A 7-2 run during those three minutes, finished off the quarter with the Cajuns sitting on top 11-4.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Second Quarter): Things got started with a Georgia Southern 5-0 run as they began to cut into the Cajuns lead. The run was ended by two free throws from, Thomas who put the Cajuns back up by four points. It was at that point, with the score sitting at 13-11 after a Eagles' layup, that the Cajuns put a gap between themselves and the Eagles. Starting with the ever-hustling Thomas, the Cajuns went on a tear from beyond the arc, making five straight threes starting at the 5:15 mark of the quarter. Thomas nailed the first two to push the Cajuns lead to six, and Swain took over from there.
The sharpshooting senior nailed the next three from beyond the arc, without missing, as she proceeded to set Hanner Fieldhouse on fire during the final three minutes of the quarter. Swain's third basket from downtown came with five seconds left in the half, and the Cajuns went into the break leading 28-11.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Third Quarter): Louisiana struggled to score through the period, only getting eight points that were sprinkled throughout the period. But their defense maintained their foothold on the game. And for the first six minutes of the quarter they answered every basket that the Eagles hit. But after a Fields basket at 3:39 the Eagles took what was to that point their best shot of the game at the Cajuns.
They hit back-to-back three-point baskets to draw within six points of the Cajuns. But a timeout from head coach Garry Brodhead calmed the Cajuns down, and they responded with a strong finish. Freshman Skyler Goodwin and Fields each got layups, giving the Cajuns not only six points in the paint in just that period alone, but it pushed their lead back to 10 points and they entered the final quarter leading 36-26 having weathered the storm.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Fourth Quarter): Both teams again struggled to score through the first few minutes of the quarter, and there was a scoring drought between both teams starting at the eight-minute mark of the period and lasting until the six-minute mark of the quarter. At that point Georgia Southern again gave the Cajuns all they could handle over a three-minute stretch where they went on a 6-0 run.
But Louisiana again had an answer, and it started with a familiar face. Thomas nailed a three-point basket when the clock hit 2:24 and on the next possession, less then 15 seconds later, freshman Ty'Reonne Doucet made the play of the game. She met Georgia Southern's Amira Atwater at midcourt and came away with the steal. A quick few dribbles later she was hitting the layup while drawing a foul, and after converting the free throw, the Cajuns again sat on top by double-digits, with the score at 48-36.
The Eagles didn't entirely go away, but Louisiana answered every shot that the Eagles took at them, and they finished the game going five for five from the field, and they hit eight of nine free throws over the final minute of the game to lock up their third straight conference win on the road, with the final score sitting at 58-48.
NOTEWORTHY: Thomas' nine rebounds is a career high; Goodwin's 10 rebounds are a career high; Fields passed Yolanda Jones to move into sole possession of sixth place on the Cajuns All-Time career rebounding list and she now has 648 career rebounds.
UP NEXT FOR THE CAJUNS: Louisiana returns to the Cajundome on Thursday, Feb. 15 when they host Texas State and they finish that weekend hosting UT-Arlington on Saturday, Feb. 17, which will be the Cajuns Pink Game.
FOLLOWING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS: Follow the Cajuns on twitter @RaginCajunsWBB for updates during the game, links to live stats and the stream and a link to the recap following the action.
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