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Early hole too much for Cajuns in Sun Belt tournament opener

Posted: 11:00 PM, Mar 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-12 00:00:53-04

MOBILE, Ala. (Press Release) – Louisiana Women’s Basketball (7-23, 5-13 SBC) did not go away quietly, but the hole that was dug through the first three quarters was too much for the Ragin’ Cajuns to overcome, as their season came to an end with a 73-61 loss to the South Alabama Jaguars (21-9, 9-9 SBC) in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Women’s Basketball Championships, Monday night at the Mitchell Center.

Led by sophomore center Ty’Reona Doucet’s 12 fourth quarter points, Louisiana made a big run powered by its defense during the fourth quarter. Doucet finished with a team-high 15 points and freshman guard Andrea Cournoyer added 10 points to give Louisiana two finishers in double-figures.

What did Louisiana in was the 59-32 hole that the Ragin’ Cajuns faced entering the fourth quarter, a hole that they almost climbed out of thanks to defense. But the deficit was too much to overcome in the end, as South Alabama held on to advance in the tournament.

HOW IT HAPPENED (First Half): South Alabama controlled the game from the start, hitting a 7-0 run within three minutes of the period, when Antoinette Lewis hit a basket at the 6:52 mark of the quarter. The run would give South Alabama a 17-4 lead with four minutes to go in the quarter and the Jaguars would eventually take a 19-9 lead into the second quarter.

Louisiana opened the second quarter with a basket from junior forward Kendall Bess, which cut the South Alabama lead to under 10 points (19-11), but that would be the last time that Louisiana would get the defect to single digits, as South Alabama proceeded to go on another run to push the lead back over 10 points. An 18-2 run by South Alabama for the majority of the quarter allowed the Jaguars to extend the lead to over 20 points and when the halftime break came, South Alabama lead 41-14.

HOW IT HAPPENED (Second Half): During the third quarter, South Alabama continued to extend its lead, cracking the 30-point advantage within the first minute of the period, when Lewis hit a basket at the 9:20 mark to make it 45-14. At the 5:25 mark of the period, South Alabama extended its lead to a game-high 34 points, when Damaya Telemaque hit a basket to make it 52-18.

Louisiana did eventually cut the deficit to under 30 points, but only just barely and when the quarter came to an end, thanks to redshirt freshman Kristen Daniels’ buzzer beating basket, the score sat at 59-32 with South Alabama in the lead.

The Ragin’ Cajuns finally found their game in the final period and began to attempt to mount an historic comeback, it was sparked by Doucet’s three straight baskets and a basket from Bess to give Louisiana an 8-0 run early in the quarter to make the score 63-42 with 6:16 remaining. Following a South Alabama basket, Louisiana again went on a run, powered by its press, which suffocated South Alabama, the Ragin’ Cajuns ripped off a 10-0 run to get the score to 65-52 with 3:30 left in the game.

Over the final three minutes of the game, South Alabama would hold off the Ragin’ Cajuns, who slowly ran out of steam due to the massive comeback they were facing, and Louisiana could not cut the defect to single digits for the remaining stretch of the game. And despite its great effort and determination to not let the season end the way the first three quarters had gone, South Alabama would hold on to win, 73-61, ending Louisiana’s season in the first round of the SBC Women’s Basketball Championships.

GAME NOTES: Louisiana outscored South Alabama, 29-14, in the fourth quarter which is the best fourth quarter Louisiana has played all season in terms of scoring margin.