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UL Women’s Basketball Travels To UT-Arlington: Preview & Keys To Victory

Photo Courtesy: ragincajuns.com

 

Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajun women’s basketball team returns to the hardwood on Thursday afternoon, when coach Garry Brodhead’s squad travels to Arlington, Texas to take on the UT-Arlington Mavericks in Sun Belt Conference action.

Louisiana, who fell to the ULM Warhawks, 66-59, on Saturday, has lost five-straight, and currently stands at 10-10, overall, and 3-6 in Sun  Belt Conference play.

That 3-6 league mark puts the Cajuns in eighth place in the conference standings, four games behind the first-place Arkansas St. Red Wolves.

UT-Arlington, who is 2-18, overall, and 1-8 in league play, snapped an eight-game losing streak on Saturday, defeating Georgia St., 67-51.

Offensively, UL is currently sixth in the conference, scoring 65.0 points-per-game, while UT-Arlington ranks ninth, averaging 59.8 points a contest.

Defensively, the Cajuns rank second in the league, allowing 63.9 points-per-game, while the Mavericks are giving up 71.7 points a tilt,  which ranks eighth in the conference.

Louisiana is led by sophomore guard Sylvana Okde, who is averaging 12.0 points-per-game, while UT-Arlington is paced by senior forward Briana Walker, who  is scoring at a 14.5 points-per-game clip.

The Cajuns lead the all-time series, 10-2, and will being going for a season sweep, after defeating the Mavericks, 66-64, back on January 11 in Lafayette.

Tip-off time is scheduled for noon.

Keys to victory:

If the UL women are going to snap their four-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 five-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.

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 36% against UT-Arlington in the first match-up, and they did wind up winning in overtime. But that game was also at home. They’ll likely have to shoot it a little better to defeat the Mavericks on the road.

The other key to their win against UT-Arlington this year was turnovers. Louisiana’s pressure defense forced 21 turnovers, which gave them at least six extra possessions. That could have been the difference in the game.

Louisiana, who ranks first in the league in turnover margin, will have to use their pressure defense to their advantage once again. The Mavericks were bothered by the pressure in the first meeting, so the Cajuns will likely turn up the heat, defensively, once again.

The Cajuns will also have to have a better defensive effort against Laila Suleiman, UT-Arlington’s third-leading scorer, who poured in 25 points in the first meeting. Briana Walker and Desherra Nwanguma, the top two scorers for the Mavericks will get their points against anybody, but they can ill-afford to allow Suleiman to another career-type game.

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.

In the loss to ULM on Saturday, Kia Wilridge did scorer 15 points, while Gabby Alexander added 12, but Okde and Arceneaux were held to a combined 11 points.

To come away with a win over the Mavericks, they’ll need solid production from Okde and Arceneaux, while getting scoring from another source.

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