Ragin' Cajun's upset Lady Red Wolves
The Lady Red Wolves suffered an upset on Saturday, as the 9th place Louisiana- Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns took down the league leaders 77-76 at the Cajun Dome.
The A-State women’s basketball team was a force to be reckoned with coming into Saturday’s conference game against a listless Louisiana-Lafayette. The Red Wolves won three straight games and were winners in 12 out of their last 15 games (16-9, 10-3 SBC). While A-State took a win 14 straight times over the Ragin’ Cajuns in the past seasons, the Cajuns came into Saturday’s game with vengeance (11-12, 4-8 SBC).
Within minutes of the match’s start, fans, players and coaches alike knew it would be a fight to the finish. At the first media timeout A-State trailed the Ragin’ Cajuns 8-4. Senior forward Carlisha Wyatt gave A-State their first lead of the first half with a pair of free throws, 18-16 with 8:55 to go in the first period.
Sophomore guard Aundrea Gamble completed a three-point play and A-State led 27-20 with 5:50 left in the first half. After that, it quickly became apparent that Gamble was going to be the push when Louisiana-Lafayette came to shove. A-State led the Ragin’ Cajuns 37-32 at halftime. Gamble led all scorers in the first half with 13 points, including a perfect 9 for 9 from the foul line.
When asked about her amazing free throw average this season, and how Saturday could have been better, Gamble expressed her disappointment with the Red Wolves’ defense.
“I was just aggressive from the beginning and that’s what caused me to get to the free throw line multiple times. All we needed was stops on defense and credit to Lafayette,” she said. “We just didn’t get stops when we needed them. From here on out we will just take it one game at a time.”
With 16:59 left in the second half, Louisiana-Lafayette retook the lead at 42-41. The back and forth continued throughout the final half, as neither team could land a fatal blow.
The final 30 seconds had the feeling of a boxing match, as both teams fought to take that final blow. ULL managed to make a bucket and get a steal for an easy layup, retaking the lead 74-73 with 27.2 seconds remaining. Head coach Brian Boyer called a timeout and when senior forward Jane Morrill got back in the game she laid one in the basket with 16.5 seconds to go (75-74) A-State.
The Ragin’ Cajuns quickly came back and moved the ball across half court and took a timeout with 12.4 seconds to go. Louisiana-Lafayette then put one up, pushing the lead at 76-75. With yet another timeout called there were 5.1 seconds to go and ULL got back in the game after a foul and a free throw, pushing the Ragin’ Cajun lead to 77-75.
Jamie Ruffins was fouled as time expired. She had two free throws upcoming while the officials checked to see if the foul was after the game ended. The foul counted, but Ruffins was injured so sophomore Jessica Flanery subbed in to shoot the free throws. Ruffins landed the first free throw but missed the second, which sealed the 77-76 defeat for the Red Wolves.
“Lafayette is a tough match up. They’re so quick and they do a great job of attacking post players one-on-one,” Boyer said in a press release. “I’m just disappointed because we went into zone (defense) some and we couldn’t stay in front of them. They just drove past us all night long.”
For Boyer, the most frustrating this about the evening was that it seemed that his team was finally coming together defensively. Unfortunately, the Red Wolves could not stop a team who had been averaging 66 points a game before this matchup.
Gamble finished the game with 24 points and six rebounds, while Morrill finished with 16 points total. O’Bannon finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and three assists.
UT-Arlington travels to Jonesboro for a match up with the Lady Red Wolves at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday at the Convocation Center.
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