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Women's Basketball: Cajuns Give Great Effort On Senior Night In Loss To LR + game photo gallery
Louisiana now enters the SBC Conference Tournament as the six seed and will face Georgia Southern on Tuesday, Mar. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Athletic Network Footnote by Dr. Ed Dugas.
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LAFYAETTE – The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team gave the Little Rock Trojans all they could handle on an emotional senior night, losing in overtime, 72-63, to earn the sixth seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
The loss drops the Cajuns record to 15-15 (10-8 SBC) while the Trojans, who already locked up the regular season SBC title, improved to 20-9 (17-1 SBC). Louisiana will now face off with the 11 seed Georgia Southern Eagles on Tuesday, Mar. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
Senior Troi Swain finished with a team high 16 points and senior Kendra Howard added 13 points. Senior Simone Fields had a good final showing at the Cajundome with seven points and a team high eight rebounds.
All four seniors were honored before the game, as Fields, Swain, Nekia Jones and Howard each got recognition for their accomplishments during their time at Louisiana.
HOW IT HAPPENED (First Quarter): The seniors came out hot to start the game as Howard and Fields scored the first 12 points of the game, with Howard getting seven of the points right off the bat as Louisiana showed they had come to play against the Trojans. Little Rock began to answer the Cajuns and things began to go back and forth through the quarter with the Cajuns' lead going between three points and one, but any time Little Rock made a basket to get that much closer, the Cajuns had an answer.
As the quarter came to an end freshman Skyler Goodwin stole the ball at midcourt and went coast-to-coast to hit a layup and sophomore Kimberly Burton added a layup with under 30 seconds to put the Cajuns up by three. Louisiana would take that three-point lead into the second quarter, with the score sitting at 19-16.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Second Quarter): Both teams came out and traded baskets to start the quarter, with Swain hitting a mid-range jumper after dribbling to find space and it put the Cajuns up by four points. Swain would hit the Cajuns next basket and with the clock sitting at 6:46 the Cajuns were up 27-21. The game then began to look like a heavyweight fight, as both teams began to trade punches and go back and forth through the middle part of the quarter.
Little Rock pushed ahead of the Cajuns as it looked like they would win the round, but sophomore Jasmine Thomas had other ideas. With 37 seconds on the clock, Thomas drove the basket with no fear and drew the foul, making the layup in the process. Thomas converted the old fashioned three-point play and the Cajuns were off on a great finish to the period.
Swain added a three-point basket with 13 seconds left, assisted by Thomas and the Cajuns finished the quarter on a 6-0 run to take a five-point lead into the halftime break.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Third Quarter): Much like the start of the game, the seniors came out and played like a group possessed, scoring the first six points, with Jones getting it started. Howard kept it going with a steal and a fast break layup and Swain finished the senior scoring spree, but Little Rock answered every Cajuns basket with one of their own and Louisiana couldn't put any distance between themselves and the Trojans.
Louisiana then went into a bit of a slump from the field, not hitting a field goal following Swain's basket at the 3:15 mark of the period. But they stayed strong defensively to not let Little Rock capitalize on the slump, and two Swain free throws with a minute left, meant that the Cajuns would enter the final period up by four points with the score sitting at 52-48.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Fourth Quarter): In the final period, both teams met toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring, and it was an exciting 10 minutes. Things were started with Little Rock tying the game for the first time since the second quarter, but that was short lived as Jones nailed a three-pointer on the Cajuns next trip down the court. Little Rock then took the lead on back-to-back baskets, but the Cajuns responded with a basket from Goodwin to put Louisiana back up by one, 57-56, with five minutes to go.
It was a preview for how the rest of the quarter would go with every basket from one team being answered almost immediately. Howard tied the score up (59-59) with three minutes to go but again Little Rock answered as they showed why they've won 20 games this season. Burton then worked for the Cajuns next basket, she grabbed a missed shot from Fields, and followed that with a miss of her own. But she went right back up and grabbed her miss and converted the basket to tie things again (61-61).
Howard then gave the Cajuns the lead with a jumper with 1:16 left in the game, but once again Little Rock swung right back tying things up at 63-63 with under a minute to go. The Cajuns then caused the Trojans to turn the ball over on a shot clock violation and with nine seconds left in the game.
Louisiana then had a chance to win the game, but an offensive foul called on Jones turned the ball right over and it gave the Trojans a chance to finish off the game. But on the reverse end the Cajuns defense was strong, as they ball guarded Little Rock, not giving them an open shot and the clock hit zero with the game tied up at 63-63.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Overtime): In the final round of what was a championship-esque fight the Trojans would put the clamps on the Cajuns as Louisiana would fail to score a basket over the entire period and Little Rock pulled away to get the win 72-63. But the Cajuns had shown how much they've improved from their previous matchup and the tone had been set heading into the SBC Tournament.
UP NEXT FOR THE CAJUNS: Louisiana now enters the SBC Conference Tournament as the six seed and will play the 11 seeded Georgia Southern Eagles on Tuesday, Mar. 6 at 7:30 p.m at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. A win there would put the Cajuns in the second round and they'd play the UT Arlington Lady Mavericks for the third time in the season on Thursday, Mar. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
FOLLOWING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS: Follow the Cajuns on twitter @RaginCajunsWBB as they look to make a run at the conference title and earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
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