Louisiana Holds Tight For Narrow Win In Atlanta
Louisiana's Head Coach Garry Brodhead wanted his team to get better at finishing games, and they made him proud on the road in Atlanta.
The Ragin' Cajuns jumped on Georgia State in the second half, extending their lead to as much as 15 points, but the Panthers put the pressure on in final four minutes of the fourth quarter, shaving the lead down to four points. Brodhead's bunch didn't buckle though, and they held on for a 70-64 win on the road.
After a tough loss to Georgia Southern on Thursday, Brodhead was glad to see his players respond with some extra effort.
“You saw a little bit more energy from us from the other night," Brodhead said after the game.
Jaylyn Gordon proved again why she's the Sun Belt Conference's leading scorer, leading all players with 22 points (8-17 FG) and she also led the way with five assists and three steals. She was on fire from deep, splashing home six three-pointers in the win.
Brodhead gave his most consistent player some praise after the victory, and she earned it by making plays all over the court and making it rain in Atlanta.
“As you know, shooters are going to shoot," Brodhead said. "She’s going to put them up, no matter what”
Gordon wasn't the only one who had a solid day against Georgia State. Simone Fields came off the bench, but she made the most of her minutes.
Fields had six offensive rebounds and 19 points (8-15 FG), but Brodhead was more pleased that she stayed out of foul trouble.
“Her sitting and not getting those early fouls that she usually gets in the game helped her," Brodhead pointed out. "She had a whale of a game. She took three or four charges that were really big for us.”
Nekia Jones was the only other Cajun to reach double-figures with 12 points, and she was money from the free throw line (8-9 FT). With the lead dwindling, Jones hit a number of clutch shots from the line to seal the deal, and she also got her teammates involved with four assists.
Despite getting outshot and outrebounded by Georgia State, the Ragin' Cajuns found a way to win on the road by forcing the Panthers into 20 turnovers. Brodhead loves defense, and his unit showed up on that side of the floor, big time.
One detail that might get overlooked in the box score was the return of Troi Swain from injury. Even though she only hit one of her 11 shot attempts, her presence on the court was a sight for sore eyes. Her three-point shooting will certainly help out Louisiana down the stretch, with the Cajuns trying to get hot before the conference tournament.
The win improved Louisiana's record to 12-8 and it pushed their conference record to 5-4. Up next, the Ragin' Cajuns come back home to play South Alabama and Troy with a chance to build on this momentum.