LAFAYETTE – The Kent State Golden Flashes had an answer for everything that the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Women’s Basketball team threw at them, resulting in a 64-55 win for the visitors on Sunday, November 12 in a MAC-Sun Belt Challenge game at the Cajundome.
Louisiana’s defense smothered the Golden Flashes from the opening tip holding them to a 1-of-9 start the first five-plus minutes and grabbed a 5-2 lead when Destiny Rice completed a three-point play.
Kent State’s first response followed immediately, the Flashes knocking down four consecutive field goals over the next two minutes during a 10-0 run that created a 12-5 advantage by the 2:19 mark of the first quarter – a sequence which changed the complexion of the game in the visitor’s favor.
Brandi Williams sank three free throws to end the first quarter, then the Cajuns (1-2) kept the charge back going early in the second quarter when Wilnie Joseph powered in for a tough inside score and Tamera Johnson drained a jumper on back-to-back possessions to kick off an 8-0 run that evened the score at 17-all by the media timeout.
UL went ahead momentarily after a series of three free throw makes surrounding a personal and technical foul at 4:16 gave the Cajuns a 20-19 edge. However, a paint jumper from Katie Shumate on the next possession and triple from Jenna Batsch on the ensuing touch quickly put the Flashes ahead 24-20 and began a string of nine unanswered points that had the Cajuns chasing again going into the break.
Louisiana came storming out of the locker room as Johnson and Ashlyn Jones drove inside for scores in the eight-minute range and Tamiah Robinson and Williams converted jumpers just inside of seven minutes to slice the KSU lead to 32-30 by 6:22 of the third quarter.
An 8-2 answerback by the Golden Flashes was met with a three-point make by Robinson that cut UL’s deficit to 40-35, but once again KSU found a critical scoring spurt with five straight points to open its first double-digit lead.
Despite falling behind by 14 midway through the fourth quarter, the Cajuns kept pushing. Jaylyn James converted a layup off a turnover forced by Robinson to drop the deficit to single digits, 56-48, with 3:29 to play. Moments later it was Williams knocking down a corner triple that had UL closing in at 58-53 with 2:02 showing.
The decisive answer from the Flashes, though, came less than 30 seconds later when Batsch knocked down a trey of her own to extend the lead to 61-53.
Sunday’s contest marked the first-ever meeting between Louisiana and Kent State, a contest made possible by the MAC-SBC Challenge scheduling alliance. It was just the second game against a MAC program in the Cajuns history, the first since meeting Buffalo in the 1998-99 season.
LEADING THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Williams scored a game-high 17 points on the strength of getting to the free throw line and successfully converting 12-of-13 attempts. Her efforts lifted the Cajuns to a 21-17 edge at the charity stripe.
Johnson hit double digits for the third time in as many games to start the season, converting a team-high five field goals and shooting a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line to generate 16 points.
Robinson was the game’s leading rebounder as she collected all 10 of her boards on the defensive end.
Joseph was the only Cajun to nab multiple steals by capturing two of the team’s three swipes. The Golden Flashes ability to protect the ball prevented additional thievery by the home team.
GARRY BRODHEAD’S THOUGHTS
On the team’s overall performance
“We were settling early for jump shots instead of getting some paint touches. In the second quarter we adjusted a little bit. The biggest thing that I’m proud of – and we really have been working hard on – is the fact that we shot 80 percent from the free throw line.
We still have some people missing. And, we still have some people trying to come back from nagging injuries, so we miss their presence.”
On the play of Brandi Williams
“It was tough without her the past two years, and for her to come back and to see what she’s doing is heartwarming. The thing that’s most impressive about her is she’s a great leader. She’s more vocal now. I’m proud of her and I think she’s grown. I think you’re going to see a different Brandi this year – she’s ready to play. I think she just needs everybody around her to be ready to go.
As far as scoring today, what ended up happening was she got aggressive and started taking the ball to the goal. She shot 13 free throws. Going 12-for-13 at the line, that can win some games for us.”
UP NEXT FOR LOUISIANA
Louisiana continues its four-game homestand, which keeps the squad at the Cajundome through the remainder of November, meeting Nicholls in a 2:00 p.m. contest on Saturday, November 18.
The contest with the Colonels is the first between the two programs since the 2012-13 season and is the Ragin’ Cajuns last before a two-week break from regular season action.
Following the Nicholls game, UL’s homestand finishes with back-to-back exhibition games surrounding Thanksgiving on Nov. 21 vs. Xavier (La.) and Nov. 27 vs. Loyola, (La.).