SAN MARCOS, Texas –The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Women’s Basketball team used the combination of its lockdown defense and a jolt of offense to capture a commanding 71-51 win over Texas State on Saturday, January 7 at Strahan Arena in San Marcos, Texas. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns (8-8, 2-2 SBC) bottled up the Bobcats (10-5, 2-2) on the defensive end over the middle quarters and stormed out of the locker room shooting 60-plus percent in the third quarter to break free. 

Louisiana’s defense went to work after the first quarter, holding the Bobcats to nearly the same amount of points they scored in the first quarter over the next two frames. The Ragin’ Cajuns limited the Texas State to 4-of-22 shooting and 18 total points over the second and third quarters, cornering the hosts after a 17-point opening quarter. 

With the defense smothering the Bobcats, the Ragin’ Cajuns delivered the knockout blow on the offensive end with a 9-of-14 (63 percent) showing from the floor in the third quarter alone – totaling up 26 points and turning a one-point halftime edge into a double-figure advantage for good. 

Then in the fourth quarter, Destiny Rice carried the Ragin’ Cajuns to the finish line with an impressive 17 points – shooting 10-of-10 at the free throw line – helping place the exclamation point on the team’s resounding road victory and upping her scoring total to a career-high 21 points. 

The win displayed the Ragin’ Cajuns’ resolve in being able to put aside the disappointment from the narrow last-second loss on Thursday at Southern Miss, allowed the team to gain a split of its first SBC road trip of the season and snapped the two-game losing streak that had existed since the conference opener vs. Georgia State (Dec. 29). 

Louisiana shot 22-of-47 for the game in recording its highest shooting percentage (47%) and points total (71) in Sun Belt play. The Ragin’ Cajuns defense held the opposition to less than 60 points for the third time in four outings in SBC play – each time yielding no more than 51 points. 

Saturday’s bout in San Marcos started out as an offensive showcase in the first quarter with both teams combining for 35 points. Louisiana came out ahead with an 18-17 lead after the initial 10 minutes as Jaylyn James banked in a three-pointer from the top of the key with two seconds left – the sixth and final lead change of the opening stanza. 

The script flipped to a defensive tug-of-war in the second quarter with only a 12 combined points scored. Louisiana survived the battle and reclaimed the lead in the final three minutes after Rice drove through the lane for a layup at 2:29 and Tamera Johnson buried the catch-and-shoot jumper at 1:34 for a 24-23 lead. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns stormed out of the locker room with a 14-4 run in the first five minutes to move the lead into double digits for good. The run kicked in, and the momentum shifted after Louisiana responded to a Bobcats three-point play that cut the lead to 27-26 at 7:58 with a give-and-go from Lanany Wheaton to Caira Wren and a Johnson triple at 7:14 for a quick five-point spurt that stretched the lead to 32-26. 

Not even a Bobcats timeout at 4:58 could keep the Ragin’ Cajuns from adding to their 38-27 lead, as out of the break Sherry Porter collected a steal and fed Wheaton on the fastbreak for a layup and later knocked down a triple at 3:36 to make it 45-27. 

Rice got the Ragin’ Cajuns going in the fourth quarter getting a floater to fall on the first possession upping the lead to 52-35 and then hitting an acrobatic shot as the shot clock sounded 7:36 for a key basket (making it 54-40) after TXST had cut the lead to 12 points. 

From there Rice would lead Louisiana’s parade to the free throw line with her 10 makes, starting with a pair with 5:36 remaining, and later connected on a three-pointer with 32 seconds showing to lock up the 20-point margin. 

Louisiana won for the seventh time in the last nine regular-season SBC matchups with Texas State, a streak that dates back to the 2019-20 season. The Ragin’ Cajuns upped their all-time series lead to 16-12 (11-7 in SBC play). 

LEADING THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Rice, who poured in 19 points in the decisive second half, finished 4-of-5 shooting and a perfect 12-of-12 at the free throw line. She added five rebounds and a team-leading three assists to her stat line. 

Wren turned in a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. She worked on both ends of the follow in collecting her career-high rebounds total, nabbing five offensive boards an six defensive boards. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns received nine points apiece from Porter, who delivered two triples, and Johnson, who had a triple of her own and picked up five rebounds. 

Wheaton scored eight points and finished tied with Rice and Wren for the team lead with four field goals. Alicia Blanton (5 points) and James (3 points) provided key bench points. 

UP NEXT FOR LOUISIANA
Louisiana makes a brief stop back home at the Cajundome on Thursday, January 12 to face South Alabama in a 6:00 p.m. contest. It’s the team’s “We Back Pat” game, honoring the life of legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and raising awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.
 
After the USA contest, the Ragin’ Cajuns take a quick road trip to Troy, Alabama to meet the Trojans on Saturday, January 14 at 4:00 p.m., then return back to the Cajundome for a weekend homestand against Old Dominion (Jan. 19) and Arkansas State (Jan. 21).