UL Women Defeat South Alabama In OT, 68-61
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajun women's basketball team won their home finale on Sunday night, defeating the South Alabama Jaguars in overtime, 68-61, in Sun Belt Conference action at the Cajundome.
The win over South Alabama extends the Cajuns' win streak to four games, gives them a two-game lead over the Jaguars in the conference standings, including the tie-breaker advantage, and clinches them a postseason appearance in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
Only eight of the ten conference teams advance to the postseason to play in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
Louisiana jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, before South Alabama came back to lead at halftime, 22-17, out-shooting UL from the field, 43%-25%, in the first half, while also holding down a 19-16 rebounding advantage.
Ronneka Robertson led the Jaguars in the first half, with 12 points, while Brooklyn Arceneaux had 7 for the Cajuns.
South Alabama pushed their lead to nine points, 34-25, at the 15:20 mark, before a 10-2 Louisiana run got the Cajuns to within one point, 36-35, with 11:42 remaining.
The Cajuns wrestled away their first lead of the second half at the 5:35 mark, when Sylvana Okde drained a three-pointer, giving UL a 43-42 lead.
The Jaguars came right back, as Brenna Ford hit a bucket, got fouled, and hit a free throw, giving them a 45-43 advantage with 5:09 left.
With 4:28 remaining, Robertson connected on two free throws, extending the South Alabama lead to 47-43, before Gabby Alexander converted a lay-up, to get Louisiana back to within two points, 47-45, at the 4:16 mark.
Robertson gave the Jaguars a little bit of a cushion, hitting a jumper at the 3:23 mark, extending the USA lead to 49-45.
Louisiana was able to get within two points twice, including cutting the score to 51-49 with 1:15 left, and then to one point, 53-52, with :28 left.
After Breanna Hall converted one of two free throws, giving USA a 54-52 lead, Louisiana had the ball, with :21 remaining.
The Cajuns got the ball to Arceneaux, who was fouled with :09 left, and went on to hit both free throws, to tie the game, 54-54.
With a chance to win it for USA, Hall missed a jumper, sending the game into overtime.
Through regulation, South Alabama out-shot Louisiana, 46%-36%, along with a 38-29 edge on the boards.
In the overtime period, trailing by two points, Braile Fields canned a three-pointer at the 2:06 mark, giving UL 59-58 lead, before South Alabama tied it, 59-59, when Hall hit one of two free throw attempts.
On their next possession, the Cajuns took a 61-59 advantage, when Kia Wilridge hit two free throws with 1:28 left.
With :45 remaining, Gabby Alexander was successful on two free throw attempts, giving UL a 63-59 lead.
Jennifer Johnson got the Jaguars to within two points, 63-61, when she put home a lay-up at the :34 mark.
Wilridge extended the UL lead to 64-61, when she hit one of two free throw attempts, and then put things away at the :13 mark, with two more free throws, making it 66-61.
Those free throws turned out to be the nail in the coffin for the Jaguars, as the Cajuns went on to the seven-point win.
South Alabama out-shot Louisiana from the field, 43%-37%, while also finishing with a 43-33 rebound advantage, but the Cajuns forced 18 turnovers, while only turning over the basketball seven times, which turned out to be the difference in the game.
Wilridge led the way for the Cajuns, with 17 points and five assists, while Arceneaux added 15 points and seven rebounds.
Robertson paced the Jaguars in a losing cause, finishing with a game-high 28 points, along with 17 rebounds.
With the win, Louisiana improved to 14-13, overall, and 7-9 in Sun Belt Conference play, while South Alabama fell to 7-19, overall, and 5-11 in league play.
The Cajuns return to action on Wednesday, when they travel to Bowling Green, Kentucky to take on the WKU Lady Toppers, before closing out their regular season schedule on Saturday, March 8, in Jonesboro, Arkansas against the Arkansas St. Red Wolves.