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Women's Basketball: Cajuns Rally Late, Lose To Texas State In SBC Semifinals

The Cajuns made a late run at the Bobcats but couldn't complete the comeback. 

NEW ORLEANS – A valiant effort at a late comeback by the sixth seeded Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team, fell just short, as a 62-56 loss to the second seeded Texas State Bobcats in the Sun Belt Conference semifinals ended their season one game short of the championship game Saturday night at the Lakefront Arena.
           
The loss wraps up the Cajuns fourth straight winning season with their record finishing up at 17-16 (10-8 SBC).  As for Texas State they move onto the championship game where they'll take on the Little Rock Trojans on Sunday, Mar. 11, and their record improves to 23-8 (14-4 SBC).
           
Freshman Skyler Goodwin led the Cajuns in scoring with 10 points and she grabbed four rebounds while fellow freshman Jomyra Mathis added eight points off the bench.  Senior Simone Fields scored seven points and snagged a team high six rebounds in her final game in a Cajuns uniform.

HOW IT HAPPENED (First Quarter): The Cajuns started strong on defense, with sophomore Jasmine Thomas grabbing back-to-back steals within the first two minutes of the game.  Both leading to basket one from Thomas herself on a breakaway and the other by Fields.  But Louisiana's defense could only hold the line for so long and a scoring drought was coupled with a Texas State run through the middle portion of the quarter.
           
Texas State would use that scoring drought to go on an 8-0 run to push ahead of the Cajuns, putting the score at 10-4 when head coach Garry Brodhead called a timeout.  Sophomore Kimberly Burton ended the drought with 2:28 left in the quarter and from there the teams traded baskets down the stretch.  Texas State, powered by that run, took a seven-point lead into the second quarter with the score sitting at 16-9.

HOW IT HAPPENED (Second Quarter): Texas State came out and began to stretch their lead hitting the first two baskets in the quarter to push things to 10 points.  But at that point Louisiana turned it on both offensively and defensively to begin to cut into the Bobcats' lead.
           
The Cajuns began a 6-0 run that started with a free throw from senior Kendra Howard and was finished off with a three-point basket from senior Troi Swain.  During that stretch the Bobcats entered a scoring drought that allowed the Cajuns to pull within four points.  That ended with two free throws from Texas State, with 4:09 to go in the period, and the score sat at 23-17.
           
Louisiana twice over the final four minutes cut the Bobcats lead to two points, with Texas State answering every time the Cajuns looked to take the lead.  The Cajuns defense then made a showing over the final two minutes of the period, keeping Texas State from scoring a point over the final stretch of the half, with Goodwin hitting a layup and Swain adding a pair of free throws cutting things to two points when the half came to an end and the score sitting at 29-27 with Texas State on top.

HOW IT HAPPENED (Third Quarter): The Cajuns came out of the locker room and Fields tied things up right off the bat, making it 29-29 within the first minute.  The Cajuns would again tie it up at 31-31 shortly after, but that would be the last time the game would be tied as the Bobcats kept the lead for the remainder of the game.
           
The Bobcats pushed their lead back to five points, but Goodwin answered the call with back-to-back baskets pulling the Cajuns back to one point (39-38).  Over the final two and a half minutes of the quarter the Cajuns would hit only one shot from the field as the Bobcats took advantage to push their lead to eight points when the period came to an end with the score sitting at 49-41.

HOW IT HAPPENED (Fourth Quarter): The Cajuns would fail to score for the first four minutes of the period, allowing the Bobcats to push their lead back to double-digits with the score sitting at 51-41 when Jones hit a free throw to end the scoring drought.  Texas State used that drought to push their lead to a game high 12 points and it felt like the Bobcats would run away with the game.
           
But the Cajuns had other ideas, and a layup from Thomas with 3:09 left in the game sparked the Cajuns on a 9-0 run, that was highlighted by a big three-point basket from Jones.  The run, which ended on two free throws from Texas State, closed the gap to five points, when Jones again showed up big.
           
With 22 seconds left on the clock, and the Cajuns down 58-53, Jones hit yet another big three-point basket to pull the Cajuns within two points of the Bobcats.  But down the stretch, Louisiana would fail to score another basket, while the Bobcats went 4 for 4 from the line to ice the game and for Louisiana the great effort at a late comeback would fall just short of completion with the final score sitting at 62-56.

NOTEWORTHY: In the tournament Goodwin averaged 17.7 points per game, shot 58 percent from the field, averaged 2.3 steals per game, grabbed 5.7 rebounds per game and played 120 minutes averaging 40.0 minutes per game; Swain averaged 14.0 points per game, made and average of 2.0 three-pointers per game, had an assist turnover ratio of 2.2 and played 119 minutes averaging 39.7 minutes per game; Thomas averaged 2.3 steals per game, 5.7 assists per game and played 104 minutes to average 34.3 minutes per game.

QUOTEWORTHY:
(Head Coach Garry Brodhead)
Opening Statement:
"I always talk about how the tough team is going to win but I think the game was a little tougher than us today. I just thought that we played hard with a lot of effort we just could never get anything in sync. Felt a little uncomfortable both offensively and defensively but I like the way that we never quit and kept fighting back until the end. Wanted to press early on and chose not to and probably made a mistake for the kids. We looked a little bit winded after the third game but you have got to give it to Texas State. You look at their numbers and everybody did their role for their team. My hats off to them, they played like they needed to play to win. Playing small ball like that, we have played liked that for 30 years and I know that they just started playing like that for the last 3 or 4 years and they did it pretty effective tonight. So my hats off to them. I love my seniors, and they did a good job. We tried to fight back for them but we fell a little short."
 
(Senior, Guard, Troi Swain)
What did Texas State do to make it difficult for you on offense?
"I would say fatigue and not so much them.  We were tired, a little winded.  Shots weren't falling.  We stopped driving and attacking."
 
(Senior, Forward, Simone Fields)
Talk about the fight the team had.
"I feel like we fought the whole game no matter what, but like Coach said, we just came up short.  We had effort throughout the whole game but just could not finish it."
 
You guys did a pretty good job defensively, but Texas State still made big shots.  How difficult was it to stay positive?
"It was very difficult to stay positive because 23 and 2 are both very good players and it was hard to stop them tonight.  We played hard throughout the whole game, we just couldn't get it."
 
FOLLOWING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS: Follow the Cajuns on twitter @RaginCajunsWBB to stay up to date with everything going on in the offseason as the Cajuns prepare to reload and go at the Sun Belt Conference again in the 2018-19 season.



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