On Thursday, Nov. 18, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s women’s basketball team faced LSU in the Cajundome. Considering both sides had each scored over 70 points in their two previous games of the season, most had this pegged as a close, high-scoring game. What was to come was neither of those things.
Early on, both offenses had trouble getting much going, and the score stood 10-10 at the end of the first quarter. Then, with precisely 8:27 left in the second quarter, LSU proceeded to create a devastating 18-2 run to close out the half, rendering the remaining 20 minutes of the game to garbage time.
Looking at the stat sheet for answers, it becomes apparent why this happened: rebounding. LSU outrebounded the Cajuns 52-29, and saved 14 offensive rebounds to the Cajuns’ five. Even the eye test reveals major problems in this area, as Louisiana players frequently failed to secure rebounds, instinctively reaching for the ball with their dominant hand instead of securing the ball with both hands.
Turnovers were also a major problem, as the Cajuns ended up with 26 to the Tigers’ 19. This comes as a shock considering it can’t be explained by an LSU surplus of blocks or steals; both teams tied in each statistic. Simply put, carelessness with the basketball and a lack of rebounding resulted in the Cajuns taking 13 fewer shots than their opponents, which contributed heavily to the scoring deficit. The Cajuns also struggled getting back on defense late in the game, as multiple times the Tigers found wide open looks directly under the basket in transition.
Despite being down so many points and possessions, the Cajuns did little to save their second half, continuing to use most of the shot clock on offense, and kept their three-point attempts markedly lower than in their previous game. They ended their fourth quarter having only scored eight points.
Multiple times late in the game, several players hesitated to shoot wide open shots, even though a single miss from three would have had little impact on the outcome. Ten of the twelve Cajuns players on the roster received double digit minutes in the game, and nearly every player touched the ball on the perimeter at some point. Five such players did not attempt a single shot from distance, two of which are listed as guards.
LSU’s Awa Trasi, a 6-foot-1-inch small forward in her senior year, came off the bench to lead both teams in scoring with 17 points in just 23 minutes played. Autumn Newby also had an impressive game, recording seven points on 67% shooting, 12 rebounds and a block.
The two standout players on the Cajuns’ side of the ball were Brandy Williams and Destiny Rice, who combined for 9 of 15 from the field including one make from three. Rice also led the team in both offensive and defensive rebounds. Both put up a good fight on defense and showed no quit all game.
(*All stats compiled from ESPN unless otherwise stated.)