LAFAYETTE, La. -- A second-half surge by the Ragin’ Cajuns propelled the Louisiana women's basketball team to a 68-57 win against Jackson State on Monday night at Earl K. Long Gym.
Byronesha Santiago registered her third double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Louisiana improves to 4-4 overall (0-2 Sun Belt). The Tigers fall to 2-6.
The game was the Cajuns first action in 10 days, taking a break from action last week for final exams. It also began a three-game homestand and Earl K. Long Gym which runs through Monday, Dec. 17.
“We had a bad start shooting the ball, but we kept on getting good opportunities so you just have to continue on and encourage them to continue to play hard,” said head coach Garry Brodhead. “The team is young and we battle through adversity, but we made a few adjustments at the half and refocused. We made a lot of mental mistakes tonight, but we kept on playing with effort and the team played hard.”
Louisiana struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the first half as the Lady Tigers defensive pressure forced 10 turnovers. The Cajuns trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half, but a Sylvana Okde three pointer with four minutes remaining sparked a 12-0 run as the Cajuns closed the gap, trailing 28-21 heading into the locker room.
Freshman Keke Veal led the Cajuns with 16 points to go along with six rebounds.
Okde, whose three-point average leads the Sun Belt, knocked down three big triples and was second on the team in scoring with 15 points. The freshman has now scored in double figures in six of the season’s first eight games.
A steal by Kia Wilridge in the opening seconds of the second half and a layup by Santiago gave the Cajuns the momentum to mount their comeback. Okde’s third triple on the night gave the Cajuns their first lead, 32-31 at the 16:17 mark.
The second half saw nine lead changes and the game tied six times as the Ragin’ Cajuns and Tigers battled back-and-forth.
With the game locked at 43-43 with 9:46 remaining, the Cajuns used back-to-back jumpers by Santiago and Okde and jumped out front 47-45.
The Tigers claimed the lead again off a steal and a couple of quick layups, but the Cajuns would end the game on a 17-3 run after Veal scored 13 of her 16 points in the final five minutes to give the Ragin’ Cajuns their fourth victory of the season.
Louisiana started off slow, making only eight of its first 39 shots and turning over the ball over 10 times in the first half.
The Ragin’ Cajuns were more effective in the second half aided by transition play and attacking the basket, shooting 17-37 for 45.9%.
The Ragin' Cajuns struggled from the three-point range, hitting only 3-of-12. Jackson State shot 36.4 percent from the field in the game.
Louisiana returns to action on Thursday, Dec. 13 facing University of New Orleans at Earl K. Long Gym at 7:00 p.m.
NEWSPAPER BOX SCORE
Jackson State vs Louisiana 12/10/12 7:00 p.m. at Lafayette, La. (Earl K. Long Gym)
JACKSON STATE (2-6) Brothern, Dominique 5-7 3-4 14; Kellum, Tiffany 3-6 4-6 10; Hardy-Fuller, Ayanna 2-4 2-4 6; Parker, Mar'chetta 3-8 0-0 6; Banks, Beatrice 2-11 0-0 6; Ndongo, Ekwara 2-7 0-0 5; James, Bridgette 2-2 1-2 5; Howard, Demara 1-6 1-2 3; Jones, Rachel 0-1 2-2 2; Hester, Daria 0-2 0-0 0; Thomas, Deziree 0-0 0-0 0; Ross, Alisa 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-55 13-20 57.
LOUISIANA (4-4) Veal, Keke 4-17 8-12 16; Okde, Sylvana 6-11 0-0 15; Santiago, Byronesha 5-10 4-6 14; Benjamin, Ashley 3-11 3-4 9; Wilridge, Kia 3-12 0-4 6; Prejean, Adrienne 2-3 0-0 4; Mills, Jasmin 1-5 0-0 2; Brown, Robbie 1-5 0-0 2; Schambough, Brandi 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 25-76 15-26 68.
Halftime Score: Jackson State 28, Louisiana 21. 3-point goals--Jackson State 4-18 (Banks, Beatrice 2-10; Ndongo, Ekwara 1-2; Brothern, Dominique 1-3; Parker, Mar'chetta 0-1; Jones, Rachel 0-1; Hester, Daria 0-1), Louisiana 3-12 (Okde, Sylvana 3-6; Schambough, Brandi 0-2; Veal, Keke 0-4). Fouled out--Jackson State-None, Louisiana-None. Rebounds--Jackson State 36 (James, Bridgette 7), Louisiana 51 (Santiago, Byronesha 13). Assists--Jackson State 8 (Brothern, Dominique 3), Louisiana 8 (Benjamin, Ashley 4). Total fouls--Jackson State 20, Louisiana 16. Technical fouls--Jackson State-None, Louisiana-None. A-365
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