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UL Women’s Basketball Hosts Troy: Preview & Keys To Victory

Photo Courtesy: ragincajuns.com

 

Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajun women’s basketball team returns to the hardwood on  Wednesday night, when coach Garry Brodhead’s squad plays host to the Troy Trojans in Sun Belt Conference action at the Cajundome.

Louisiana, who snapped an 8-game losing streak by defeating the first-place Arkansas St. Red Wolves, 77-76, on Saturday, currently stands at 11-13, overall, and 4-9 in Sun Belt Conference play.

That 4-9 league mark puts the Cajuns in ninth place in the conference standings, six games behind Arkansas St., but only one game behind a trio of teams in the 6-8 spots.

Troy, who is 9-14, overall, and 5-7 in league play, has won three of their last four, and is currently tied for sixth place in the league.

Offensively, UL is currently seventh in the conference, scoring 64.6  points-per-game, while Troy ranks first, averaging 81.0 points a contest.

Defensively, the Cajuns rank third in the league, allowing 65.0 points-per-game, while the Trojans are giving up 83.7 points a tilt, which is at the bottom of the conference.

Louisiana is led by sophomore guard Sylvana Okde, who is averaging 11.2 points-per-game, while Troy is paced by senior guard Joanna Harden, who is the leading-scorer in the conference, averaging 25.3 points-per-game clip.

The Trojans lead the all-time series, 7-6, including a 87-75 win over the Cajuns back on January 18 in Troy, Alabama.

Tip-off time is scheduled for 7 pm.

Keys to victory:

If the UL women are going to win their second-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 missing a valuable piece of their puzzle. Against Arkansas St. they were able to play some of their best basketball of the year, and they’ll need a similar outing tonight..

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, but it’s something they’re going to have to continue to deal with, for at least the next few games.

Tonight’s game will be a contrast of styles, with Troy being a team that likes to outscore the opposition, while Louisiana relies on defense to win.

The Cajuns are going to have to slow down Harden, who poured in 28 in the first meeting. They won’t stop her, as she gets her points against everybody, but if they keep her closer to 20, instead of 30, and limit her good looks at the basket, then they have a good shot at getting a win.

Still, Harden is an explosive player, who is really fun to watch. She’s worth the price of admission.

Troy out-shot Louisiana, 54%-29%, in the first meeting, and out-rebounded them, 51-43. So, it’s pretty simple really; the Cajuns have to shoot it better, keep the Trojans 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. Troy has a way of speeding you up, and getting you out of your game. UL will have to resist that urge, and again, stay patient.

The Cajuns went over ten minutes in the first half without scoring a field goal in the first meeting. Against a team like Troy, who can score, you have to avoid such a stretch if you expect to win.

The Cajuns forced 19 turnovers in the first meeting, and they’re going to have to force at least that many again, while limiting the amount of easy baskets that the Trojans get.

Louisiana, who ranks first in the league in turnover margin, has to take it to Troy, defensively, and not allow the Trojans to get into a 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 snap that losing streak.

Gabby Alexander did step up against Arkansas St., scoring a career-high 22 points. That was one of the keys to victory against the Red Wolves, and a big key in tonight’s game.

 

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