Women's Basketball: Louisiana relishes breakout performance
Kevin Foote, The Advertiser, Feb. 1, 2018
It’s been a long, trying season in a lot of ways for the UL Ragin’ Cajuns women’s basketball team.
Forced to play without two of its top performers for the season in Jasmine Thomas and Kim Burton, coach Garry Brodhead’s club has experienced the roller coaster ride that goes along with primarily playing freshmen and sophomores.
Until Thursday night.
With no real warning or obvious reason for an immediate upgrade, Brodhead’s Cajuns played their best game of the season in a sparkling 73-55 win over Appalachian State in the Cajundome.
“It was one of our most consistent games of the year,” Brodhead said. “We know we have some talent. It’s just a matter of doing it consistently. It’s good to see that we kind of grew tonight.”
Making it even more surprising was the news that sophomore guard and floor leader Skyler Goodwin is now expected to miss two to three weeks with a foot injury.
“Maybe that’s why,” Brodhead said. “They felt like they had one of their teammates missing and they wanted to play for her.”
Apparently, the reasons were many.
For one, Ty’Reona Doucet appeared extra motivated, finishing with 28 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Cajuns (6-14, 4-5).
“We talked about it (as a team),” Doucet said. “We all had our minds made up that we were going to play hard and play together in this game. I was more focused than I usually was.
“It was more fun when everybody is together and doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”
Playing against a taller and bigger front line didn’t seem to affect Doucet.
“I just think it’s heart over height, so I wasn’t worried about how tall or how big they were,” Doucet said. “I was just doing my part.”
Brodhead also revealed that he’s been extra hard on Doucet in his motivational tactics of late to get her going again after a red-hot start to the season.
“We’re not best friends anymore,” Brodhead said, joking. “I’ve been tough on her. I really have. I’m very excited (about tonight). My expectations for her are very high, but she did a great job tonight and I’m proud of her.”
Another reason was freshman shooter Brandi Williams.
“I think we just came together,” Williams said. “The energy was so good out there. It was just a different vibe when we came out to play this game.”
Williams made both of her three-point attempts and all four of her free throws.
“It’s like coach says, ‘Take your shot that you’re comfortable with. Take your shot,’” Williams added. “I’m starting to take my shot more and getting more confident in my shots.”
The other big reason was their best quarter of the season, outscoring the Mountaineers (10-9, 4-4) 24-6 in the third quarter.
The trick there was limiting the visitors to 1-of-12 shooting from the field in that period.
“I thought it was one of the games, we played really well both offensively and defensively,” Brodhead said. “In the first half, we did a good job of scoring, but they were getting some easy looks. In the third quarter, some of the adjustments we made — not hedging and going under screens — I thought our kids did a great job.”
Diamond Morrison continued to show promise with 10 more points and Kendall Bess also encouraged with six points in 13 minutes.
“A lot of it is a pride issue,” Brodhead said. “It’s not about height or speed or anything. It’s about heart. I think we found it a little bit tonight.
“It’s like I tell them, ‘Fun doesn’t come first. You work for fun.’ And I thought they worked for it tonight.”