UL Women Host South Alabama: Preview & Keys To Victory
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajun women’s basketball team returns to the hardwood on Sunday, when coach Garry Brodhead’s squad plays host to the South Alabama Jaguars, in Sun Belt Conference action at the Cajundome.
The game, which will mark the back end of a day/night, men's/women's doubleheader, is the home finale for the Cajuns in the 2013/2014 college basketball season.
Louisiana, who ran their win streak to three games on Saturday, February 22, by defeating the Georgia St. Panthers, 67-63, currently stands at 13-13, overall, and 6-9 in Sun Belt Conference play.
That 6-9 league mark puts the Cajuns in a tie for seventh place in the conference standings.
South Alabama, who is 7-18, overall, and 5-10 in league play, has lost their last six games, and has fallen to ninth place in the conference standings.
Tonight's game may have postseason ramifications, as only eight of the ten teams qualify for the postseason Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
Offensively, UL is currently seventh in the conference, scoring 64.6 points-per-game, while South Alabama ranks tenth, averaging 60.7 points a contest.
Defensively, the Cajuns rank third in the league, allowing 64.6 points-per-game, while the Jaguars are giving up 69.3 points a tilt, which is seventh in the conference.
Louisiana is led by sophomore guard Sylvana Okde, who is averaging 10.9 points-per-game, while South Alabama is paced by senior guard Meghan Dunn, who is averaging 13.1 points-per-game clip.
The Jaguars won the earlier match-up this season, defeating the Cajuns, 65-60, back on January 15 in Mobile, Alabama.
Tip-off time is scheduled for approximately 5:15 pm.
Keys to victory:
If the UL women are going to win their fourth-consecutive game, they’re going to have to play consistently on both sides of the floor. Still without the services of the injured Keke Veal, the Cajuns are missing a valuable piece of their puzzle. In their wins over Arkansas St., Troy, and Georgia St., they were able to play some of their best basketball of the year, and they’ll need a similar outing tonight, despite the fact that South Alabama has lost six-straight.
Due to injuries, Louisiana has had starting guards Kia Wilridge and Veal on the floor, together, for only five games this year. Certainly, if those two would have played together more, the Cajuns would have a better record right now. Still, they’ve won 13 games, which eclipses last year’s win total of ten, plus they still have a chance to have a winning record, and to qualify for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in the postseason.
Louisiana has changed their style a little over the last three games, playing at a slower tempo, and that has worked. They'll have to rely on that style to win again tonight.
South Alabama out-shot Louisiana, 43%-37%, in the first meeting, and out-rebounded them, 42-36. They also had balanced scoring, with three players 14 or more points. So, it’s pretty simple really; the Cajuns have to shoot it better, keep the Jaguars from shooting as well, and do a better job on the boards.
When Louisiana has the ball, offensively, they have to protect the basketball, be patient, and find a way to hit some key shots. If they can shoot over 40%, they can come away with a victory. The main thing is to stay patient and get good looks.
The Cajuns forced 30 turnovers in the first meeting. They don't need that many to win tonight, especially if they produce in the other areas, but they will need their defense to provide them with some easy buckets on the offensive end.
Louisiana, who ranks first in the league in turnover margin, has to take it to South Alabama, who seems to be vulnerable to pressure, and who you don’t want to set-up their half-court offense in a good rhythm.
With Veal out, Louisiana is relying heavily on Sylvana Okde and Brooklyn Arceneaux to provide the bulk of the scoring. Somebody, along with those two, will have to step up, and have a big game, if the Cajuns are to continue their winning streak.
Gabby Alexander and Jaylyn Gordon did indeed step up over the last three games, and the Cajuns will need similar production for them to win tonight.