UL Women’s Basketball Hosts UALR: Preview & Keys To Victory
UL sophomore forward Brooklyn Arceneaux
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 UALR Trojans in Sun Belt Conference action at the Cajundome.
Louisiana, who fell to the Texas St. Bobcats, 70-64, on Saturday, has lost seven-straight, and currently stands at 10-12, overall, and 3-8 in Sun Belt Conference play.
That 3-8 league mark puts the Cajuns in ninth place in the conference standings, six games behind the first-place Arkansas St. Red Wolves.
UALR, who is 11-10, overall, and 6-5 in league play, has won three of their last five, and is currently tied for fourth place in the league.
Offensively, UL is currently seventh in the conference, scoring 64.4 points-per-game, while UALR ranks tenth, averaging 58.0 points a contest.
Defensively, the Cajuns rank third in the league, allowing 64.6 points-per-game, while the Trojans are giving up 57.5 points a tilt, which leads the conference.
Louisiana is led by sophomore guard Sylvana Okde, who is averaging 11.2 points-per-game, while UALR is paced by junior forward Taylor Gault, who is scoring at a 15.1 points-per-game clip.
The Trojans lead the all-time series, 14-8, including a 74-60 win over the Cajuns back on January 29 in Little Rock, Arkansas earlier this year. UALR has won 12 of the last 13 meetings
Tip-off time is scheduled for 7 pm.
You can catch all the play-by-play action on Sports Radio ESPN 1420 & espn1420.com beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 pm.
Keys to victory:
If the UL women are going to snap their seven-game losing streak, 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 have fallen off in every aspect of their game since the injury, which is why they’ve lost seven-straight games.
They’ve played well in spurts, but to snap the losing skid they’re going to have to put together 40 solid minutes of basketball.
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.
These are two of the top three defensive teams in the league, two teams that rely on defense to win, so points will a premium tonight, and every possession will be important.
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 Cajuns shot 39% against UALR in the first match-up, but they allowed the Trojans to shoot 60%. I wouldn’t expect the two teams to shoot that well again, but one team will be right around 40% at the conclusion of the game, and that team will likely win.
The Cajuns forced 26 turnovers in the first meeting, and they’re going to have to force at least that many again, while keeping UALR from hitting as many perimeter shots as they did in the first meeting.
Louisiana, who ranks first in the league in turnover margin, relies on their defense to create pressure, while UALR is more of a half-court defensive team.
The Cajuns will also have to have a better defensive effort against Taylor Gault, UALR’s leading scorer, and the league’s sixth-leading scorer, who poured in 22 points in the first meeting. She’s capable of having a 25-point type of night, so the defense will have to limit her.
As good as Gault is, she will get her points. The problem in the first meeting is that four other Trojan players reached double-digit scoring numbers. So, keeping Gault from having a monster night, while limiting the number of other players that might produce is a big key for UL to come out on top.
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.
Okde and Arceneaux combined to score 33 points in the first meeting, but no one else reached double-digits. They have other capable performers, and they’ll need one of them to have a solid game if the Cajuns are going to capture a victory.