LAFAYETTE – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Women’s basketball team’s return home to the Cajundome was spoiled by a hot-shooting Texas Tech squad that used 62-percent shooting to capture a 64-48 win on Sunday, November 20 in the final game of the Preseason WNIT.
 
The Lady Raiders’ sharpshooting was able to offset a stout Ragin’ Cajuns defensive effort that forced the visitors into 23 turnovers and limited the them to a single offensive rebound the entire contest.
 
Louisiana (1-4) was unable to take advantage of its defensive efforts – and snap its losing streak, now at four games – on the offensive end as the squad was held below 30 percent for the fourth straight outing, finishing at 25 percent (15-for-60).
 
Defensive prevailed early in the contest as neither team scored in the first four minutes. A reverse layup from Mariah Stewart at 5:17 pulled the Ragin’ Cajuns into a 3-2 lead, but Texas Tech (3-1) answered on the other end with a Jazmaine Lewis layup to regain the lead at the 4:50 mark.
 
Lanay Wheaton three-pointer opened the scoring in the second quarter and started a four-point spurt that trimmed the deficit to 11-9. Meanwhile, the defense went back to work holding the Lady Raiders scoreless for the first three-plus minutes of the frame.
 
Texas Tech was the first to make a critical move, converting baskets on four consecutive possessions inside of six minutes before halftime for the major push in a 12-0 run that extended the lead to 23-9 and prompted a Ragin’ Cajuns timeout.
 
Paced by Nubia Benedith, who buried three triples as part of an 11-point effort, Louisiana returned within striking distance at 37-26 with 2:54 remaining in the third quarter. TTU pushed the lead up to 16 points but the Ragin’ Cajuns fought right back with a Jaylyn James triple and Stewart basket on the break off a turnover to make it 42-31.
 
The rally for the Ragin’ Cajuns ran out of steam in the first half of the fourth as the squad went nearly a full five minutes without a field goal make and Texas Tech used a 9-1 run to stretch the lead into 20 points for the first time at 53-32 with 6:14 left to play.
 
The Lady Raiders were near automatic throughout the contest and surged in the second half with a 15-of-22 showing (68 percent) in the second half. For the game, TTU shot 24-of-39 (62 percent) and was 6-of-11 (55 percent) from three-point range.
 
The Ragin’ Cajuns hustled their way to 16 offensive rebounds, with six different players hauling in multiple tallies, to provide several second-chance opportunities.
 
LEADING THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
The strong second-half performance (4-of-6 overall, 3-of-5 triples) led Benedith to her career-high total of 16 points which paced the team. Wheaton joined her in double figures with 11 points and took home team-high honors with seven rebounds.
 
Benedith was 5-of-6 at the free throw line, sparking an improved effort for Louisiana which as a team finished 13-of-18 for a 72 percent showing.
 
Tamera Johnson tied Wheaton with a team-high seven rebounds and added a pair of steals, Caira Wren celebrated her birthday with a team-best three offensive rebounds and Destiny Rice handed out a pair of assists and had two swipes.
 
Louisiana held a 29-22 advantage in bench points with the vast majority of production coming from Benedith. The Ragin’ Cauns also got contributions from Stewart who connected on both her field goal attempts for four points, while James added four points as well and Lizzy Ratcliff posted three points from the charity stripe.
 
UP NEXT FOR LOUISIANA
Louisiana takes a Thanksgiving weekend trip to Denton, Texas to compete in the UNT Thanksgiving Tournament being held from Friday-Sunday, November 25-27 at The Super Pit.
 
The Ragin’ Cajuns are scheduled to face host-North Texas on Friday (Nov. 25) at 7:30 p.m., then round out the weekend facing Abilene Christian in a Noon matchup on Sunday (Nov. 27).