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Women's Basketball: Cajuns Hold off Warhawks

Source: ULM Athletics, Feb. 16, 2019

Monroe, La. - The Ragin' Cajuns outscored ULM 19-10 in the fourth quarter as they rallied for a 55-52 win over the Warhawks Saturday afternoon at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

The Ragin' Cajuns outscored ULM 19-10 in the fourth quarter as they rallied for a 55-52 win over the Warhawks Saturday afternoon at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

The Cajuns (7-17 overall, 5-18 Sun Belt Conference) used strong first and fourth quarters to overcome a solid second and third quarter effort by ULM (8-15, 2-10). The Cajuns outscored ULM 17-7 in the opening quarter, closing the frame on an 11-0 run.

"They battled," head coach Jeff Dow said. "Both teams played extremely hard. You hate to see either team lose. Certainly the effort was there, the competitiveness. To hold them to only four offensive rebounds certainly speaks to that, and for us to come up with 15 o-boards shows you're playing hard. But two bad quarters offensively, first quarter and fourth quarter. You don't want one of them, let alone two. We shoot 21 percent in the first, 27 percent in the fourth, miss all five of our threes in the fourth quarter. I thought we had a lot of good looks from three, in the second half we go 1-of-10. That's kind of the killer."

The Warhawks were scoreless for eight minutes and 58 seconds in the middle of the first half. ULM took a 7-6 lead with 5:49 left in the first quarter on a 3-pointer by Whitney Goins. The Warhawks did not score again until Amber Thompson knocked down a trey at the 6:51 mark of the second quarter, pulling ULM within 10, 20-10.

Thompson's three sparked a ULM rally. The Warhawks closed the first half on a 13-2 run, including the final nine points before intermission. Lauren Fitch scored nine points down the stretch of the half, including the final four points on a layup and two free throws to tie the game at 26.

In the third quarter, the Cajuns used a 6-0 run to take a 32-28 lead on free throws by Andrea Cournoyer with 6:49 left in the quarter. ULM again flipped the switch, going on a 14-4 run to close the quarter. Goins connected on a 3-pointer to tie the game at 32, and Destini Lunsford hit a transition layup to give ULM the lead at 34-32. A layup by Clark and back-to-back buckets from Fitch staked ULM to their largest lead of the afternoon at 42-34 with 50 seconds left in the quarter. ULM led 42-36 at the end of three quarters.

The Cajuns would rally in the fourth quarter, with the teams trading the lead three times. The Cajuns took the final lead change on a layup by Kendall Bess with 5:45 to play. ULM drew within a point two more times, once at 49-48 on a jumper by Fitch and again at 53-52 on free throws by Clark with 1:04 remaining. After picking up a defensive stop and an offensive rebound, ULM had one more shot at the win. However, an illegal screen call on ULM gave the ball back to the Cajuns with five seconds left. After Brandi Williams hit two free throws, a three for the tie by Tiara Malone fell short, as the Cajuns held on for the win.

Fitch led ULM for the second straight game, scoring a game-high 18 points. Clark tallied her fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Goins reached double-figures for the second straight game with 10 points.

Dow says Fitch was key, especially in the first half.

"She just kept getting downhill on those drives, made some tough shots in the process, sometimes going over post players," Dow said. "I thought especially in the second quarter she was amazing in almost putting us on her back. I'm really happy for Lauren and how tough she played."

Dow also credited Clark's effort, especially in the second half.

"People hanging all over her, riding her as she was driving it and still found a way to adjust herself with some tough angles and make some tough shots and getting some o-board putbacks in the process as well," Dow said. "She single-handedly got more offensive rebounds than their entire team. Obviously she struggled in the first half, but pretty resilient on her part to come back with 14 second half points and shooting a very high percentage."

ULM shot 33.3 percent from the field (20-of-60), while hitting 21.1 percent from 3-point range (4-of-19) and 57.1 percent at the free throw line (8-of-14). The Ragin' Cajuns finished 41.7 percent from the field (20-of-48), 1-of-7 from three, and 82.4 percent at the line (14-of-17). ULM out rebounded the Cajuns 39-31, and pulled in 15 offensive rebounds.

The Warhawks continue the three-game homestand Thursday with their only meeting of the season against Texas State. For tickets, call (318) 342-HAWK or visit ULMWarhawks.com. For live video, audio and stat links, visit the women's basketball schedule page at ULMWarhawks.com.