Cajuns Stun #1 Little Rock, Advance to SBC Title Game
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns women’s basketball team is one win away from the NCAA Tournament.
Louisiana, the #5 seed, upset league champion Little Rock 79-71 Saturday to advance to the Sun Belt Conference championship game. Louisiana will play the winner of UTA/Troy for the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The game will be played Sunday at 6:00 pm at the UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans.
Louisiana (20-11) trailed by ten points in the first half, but roared back to take a 40-38 lead at halftime. The Cajuns trailed again by seven in the third quarter, but then clamped down defensively and led 55-50 after three quarters.
The Cajuns left no doubt in the fourth quarter, making 9-10 field goal attempts and 6-6 free throws.
The 79 points scored by the Cajuns were the most given up by Little Rock since February, 2014, a span of 104 games. They had allowed an average of just 49.4 ppg over their last ten games.
For the game, Louisiana shot 55.2% (32-58). They were just 1-6 from three point range, but made all 14 of their free throws. Little Rock (24-8) shot 54.7% (29-53) from the field, but made just 4-13 (30.8%) in the third quarter. The Trojans were 6-11 from beyond the arc and 7-8 from the free throw line.
Jaylyn Gordon scored 21 points to lead the Cajuns. Simone Fields added 16 points and led the Cajuns in rebounds with eight. Freshman Jasmine Thomas hit six of seven shots for 14 points, while Nekia Jones scored eleven points and led the Cajuns in assists with four.
All-Conference player Sharde’ Collins hit 12-24 shots from the field and led the Trojans with 27 points. Ronjanae DeGray, the niece of former Cajuns’ basketball player Reggie DeGray, added 16 on 6-8 shooting. Monique Townson added 12 points, including 3-4 from the bonusphere. The Cajuns held senior Kaitlyn Pratt, a first team all league selection to just seven points and five rebounds.
Louisiana’s trip to the title game will be the third time the Cajuns have played for the Sun Belt title. The Cajuns lost to Middle Tennessee in the 2005 and 2007 title games.