UL Women Open Season With Win
The University of Louisiana shot 69 percent in the first half and staved off a LSU-Shreveport comeback as the Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team opened the season with a 74-67 victory over the Lady Pilots on Monday evening at the Cajundome.
The Cajuns hit 16 field goals in the first half and held LSU-Shreveport scoreless in their first 14 attempts from the field. The Lady Pilots came out firing in the second half going on a 24-to-11 run against Louisiana. UL totaled 55 percent of their field goal attempts compared to LSUS' 44 percent. The Cajuns dominated the free throw line 18-to-11.
Junior Mercedes Johnson led Louisiana with 19 points and three rebounds. The Houston native hit 58 percent of her shots from the field and tallied five from the charity stripe.
Forward Lyndra Bell added another double-digit effort for Louisiana with her 10 points. She drained four field goals and a pair of free throws. She also dished out a career-high five assists.
Jasmine Barnes narrowly missed a career-high in rebounds as she led Louisiana with 10. Barnes, a senior guard, recorded seven of her 10 boards on defense. She finished with eight points.
Juniors Danyell Oliver and Danielle Smith each added seven points in their Cajuns debut. Oliver drained a pair of field goals and three free throws. Smith hit one of UL's two triples as she was 2-for-3 from the field with two free throws.
In the first half, the Ragin' Cajuns shot 60 percent from the field and held the Lady Pilots to just eight field goals as UL took in a 21 point lead (44-23) at the half.
Johnson scored the first seven points for the Cajuns. She drained three jumpers and added a free throw to give Louisiana a 7-1 lead at 15:38 in the first half.
Smith took advantage of two freebies to extend UL's lead to 9-1 after being fouled from a fast break opportunity.
Another pair of free throws by Johnson gave UL the 11-1 advantage. Oliver hit a 20-foot jumper extending the Cajuns' 13-1 run. Johnson finished the half with 11 points in 14 minutes.
Louisiana then jumped out to a 15-1 lead as Kemi Rotibi added two more from the charity stripe. Rotibi, a junior from Chicago, posted nine points and three rebounds in her debut.
The Ragin' Cajuns did more damage at the free throw line as Oliver was fouled behind the three-point line. She drained all three, giving UL a comfortable 18-3 margin.
Louisiana's defense held the Lady Pilots scoreless from the field in their first 14 attempts. LSUS got off the snide with a jumper by Najarae Wiley at 10:28.
A trey by Smith and a breakaway layup by Oliver extended UL's lead to 23-5.
LSUS narrowed UL's lead to 23-11 at 7:01 in the first after posting a 7-0 run. UL closed out the first half with a 19-to-12 run.
In the second half, LSU-Shreveport went on a 24-to-11 in the first ten minutes. The Lady Pilots started out on 13-2 run to trim into Louisiana's lead, 46-36.
Johnson broke the funk for UL at 13:47 with a jump shot and free throw to cap a three point play.
Bell added a layup and Krystal Motley shot a fade away to give UL a 7-0 run at 13:10. The Lady Pilots again went on a 10-to-5 run to cut Louisiana's lead to eight (58-49).
Rotibi stole the ball inside the paint and passed to Bell for a fast break opportunity, extending Louisiana's advantage to 60-49 at 7:25. Brunker made a layup as the Ragin' Cajuns extended their lead to 13 (62-49). Brunker was 2-for-3 on Monday, setting a career-best four points.
LSU-Shreveport's Sharday Cotton added a pair of layups to cut UL's advantage to eight at 65-57.
Louisiana added three more field goals inside as Barnes, Smith and Johnson expanded UL's advantage to 73-62.
In the final minute, LSU-Shreveport drained a three and used a fast break opportunity to cut Louisiana's gap to 74-67.
Point guard Nicole Morris totaled four assists for Louisiana in 24 minutes played. Brandi Schambough inked a three-pointer, while D'Mya Clay drained two field goals for four points.
The Ragin' Cajuns will remain home as they UAB on Saturday, Nov. 20. The Blazers, a member of Conference USA, are 0-1 after dropping a 67-65 contest to Florida A&M on Sunday. Saturday's game is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. tip-off at the historic Earl K. Long Gym.
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Officials: Erich Koch, Brian Garland, Daisy Lane
Technical fouls: LSU-Shreveport-None. Louisiana-None.
Regular season game for Louisiana
Exhibition game for LSU-Shreveport