In a rare midday game, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns women’s basketball team took on the LSU-Shreveport Lady Pilots in their yearly “Education Game” on Tuesday, Nov. 29. Many students from elementary, middle, and high school made the trek from schools all over Acadiana to come and see the Cajuns.
The final attendance was nearly 2,000 and they were loud to the point that my ears hurt from their high-pitched caterwauling.
Perhaps the kids were the reason the Lady Pilots were off their game, as they were completely dominated in a 72-40 defeat at the hands of the Cajuns, who got to .500 on the young season.
The name of the game was defense for the Cajuns. They held the Lady Pilots to 13-of-44 shooting, which is a percentage of 29.5%. The Lady Pilots were also 27.8% from beyond the 3-point line, never shooting above 45% in any quarter. The Cajuns also held the starting five of LSUS to 12 points the entire contest, two players of which were held scoreless through the entirety of the game.
As for the Cajuns’ offense, the bench provided the majority of the points. In 22 minutes of play, redshirt freshman guard Alicia Blanton led the team with 14 points and seven assists. In fact, all but two of the women on the team ended up with at least two points. It was a very balanced game in terms of passing the ball around, getting open looks in the paint, and finishing with and without contact.
However, there are some glaring issues I would be remiss if I didn’t point out. The first was that the Cajuns were seemingly afraid to shoot 3-pointers. In warmups, they seemed unable to knock them down, and it must have spooked them into taking only nine attempts in 40 minutes of play. For those who are wondering, that’s one three-point attempt about every four-and-a-half minutes. One of the worst teams statistically in the nation seemingly did not want to let it fly a bit more against a school from the NAIA in an attempt to boost confidence.
Another issue is with free throw shooting. The Lady Pilots shot 75% from the charity stripe on 9-for-12 shooting. The Cajuns, meanwhile, shot 52.6% on 10-for-19 free throw shooting. While I understand that the numbers don’t tell the whole story because of the difference in the amount of shots taken, free throws are some of the easiest shots to take in basketball. That may come off as a casual take on basketball, but the Cajuns left another nine points on the board that were there for the taking.
Be that as it may, my gripes with the game end there. The Cajuns were expected to dominate, and dominate they did. The kids were loud, and they were treated to a great game by the Cajuns. If the Cajuns can work on the issues they had in this game against the Lady Pilots, then the Sun Belt Conference should be on alert to a potent Cajuns offense and stifling defense.