UL Women’s Basketball Travels To Take On Georgia St.: Preview & Keys To Victory
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajun women’s basketball team returns to the hardwood on Saturday, when coach Garry Brodhead’s squad travels to Atlanta, Georgia to take on the Georgia St. Panthers in Sun Belt Conference action.
Louisiana, who ran their win streak to a modest two game on Wednesday night by defeating the Troy Trojans, 77-76, currently stands at 12-13, overall, and 5-9 in Sun Belt Conference play.
That 5-9 league mark puts the Cajuns in a tie for eighth place in the conference standings, six games behind Arkansas St., but only one-half game behind a trio of teams in the 6-8 spots.
Georgia St., who is 12-13, overall, and 8-5 in league play, has won their last two, and is currently tied for third place in the league.
Offensively, UL is currently seventh in the conference, scoring 64.6 points-per-game, while Georgia St. ranks fifth, averaging 68.2 points a contest.
Defensively, the Cajuns rank third in the league, allowing 65.0 points-per-game, while the Panthers are giving up 73.6 points a tilt, which is ninth in the conference.
Louisiana is led by sophomore guard Sylvana Okde, who is averaging 11.1 points-per-game, while Georgia St. is paced by senior guard Kendra Long, who is averaging 13.0 points-per-game clip.
The Panthers lead the all-time series, 2-0, including a 72-67 overtime win over the Cajuns back on January 18 at the Cajundome.
Tip-off time is scheduled for 5 pm.
Keys to victory:
If the UL women are going to win their third-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. and Troy, they were able to play some of their best basketball of the year, and they’ll need a similar outing tonight, especially since they're playing on the road, where they haven't won since January 15.
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 11 games, which eclipses last year's win total of ten, and they still have a chance to qualify for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in the postseason.
Tonight’s game will be feature a little bit of a contrast of styles, with Georgia St. relying on their offense to win games, while Louisiana relies on defense.
Sure, the Cajuns are going to have to slow down Long, who is a solid player, but it was the inside combination of 6-foot-4 junior Brittany Logan, and 6-foot-2 freshman Haley Gerrin that really hurt UL in the first meeting, with the two combining for 29 points and 25 rebounds. The Cajuns will simply have to play better on the interior and limit second- chance opportunities.
Georgia St. out-shot Louisiana, 45%-39%, in the first meeting, and out-rebounded them, 43-32. So, it’s pretty simple really; the Cajuns have to shoot it better, keep the Panthers 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. Georgia St. is allowing the second-most points per game in the league, and they rank seventh in field goal percentage defense, so if UL is patient, they should get some good looks.
The Cajuns forced 27 turnovers in the first meeting, and they may have to force a similar number again, if they expect to win on the road.
Louisiana, who ranks first in the league in turnover margin, has to take it to Georgia St., who seems to be vulnerable to pressure, and who you don't want to set-up their half-court offense for their bigger post players.
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.