Jan 6, 2013 10:29 AM by UL Sports Information
Size proved to be the difference for the Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team during the final game of their swing through south Florida on Saturday as FlU used 14 offensive rebounds to score 16 second chance points and 40 points in the paint to hand Louisiana a 63-47 setback on Saturday at U.S. Century Bank Arena.
The loss drops the Cajuns (7-8, 1-5 SBC) below the .500 mark for the first time since early December while FIU improved to 9-5 overall and 3-2 in Sun Belt play.
Keke Veal came off the bench to lead Louisiana in scoring for the second straight game, tallying 14 points, while Kia Wilridge added 10 points and a team-best six rebounds. The FIU trio of Jerica Coley (16 points), Fina Mansare (15) and Kamika Idom (14) led the Panthers with Coley narrowly missing a triple-double, adding 15 rebounds and eight assists.
"We played hard tonight but we are still running into situations where our size and youth is working against us," Louisiana head coach Garry Brodhead said. "Offensively, we worked on executing our offense better and I thought that it showed. Still, we didn't make good decisions and that worked against us."
The Cajuns duo of Sylvana Odke and Brandi Schambough, who had combined to make 50 three-pointers in the first 14 games, combined to go just 2-for-17 from behind the arc as part of a 7-for-25 effort by UL.
"We got some good looks at the basket, especially from the perimeter, but they just didn't fall," Brodhead said. "Playing on the road against a bigger team, it would have helped us a lot if we got better production from those two."
FIU entered the game ranked 30th nationally and tops in the Sun Belt with a +8.8 rebounding margin and despite the best efforts of the Cajuns, the Golden Panthers finished the night with a 40-30 rebounding edge.
"We really focused on rebounding tonight and our efforts did help, but there size was just too much for us," Brodhead added. "Too many times we would force them into a tough shot from the perimeter only to have them scoop up the rebound and get the put back."
The Louisiana defense worked hard, making nine steals but the Panthers presented the Cajuns with few opportunities, turning the ball over just 11 times and shooting .482 from the field (27-56), including a 15-for-28 effort in the first half (.536).
The first six minutes featured two ties and three lead changes. The Golden Panthers took a 10-9 lead on Arielle Durant jumper at the 13:43 mark, starting an 11-2 burst that put FIU ahead, 19-11 with 8:58 left in the opening stanza.
Once behind, the Cajuns found it difficult to mount a comeback as FIU protected the ball and pounded the glass.
The Cajuns would pull to within 25-20 late in the first half, but two straight baskets inside by Coley helped FIU hold a 31-23 lead at the break.
A three-pointer by Veal closed the gap to 36-30 with 16:43 left, but FIU then ran off eight straight points to open a 44-30 lead with 13:14 remaining in the contest.
That run proved to be the difference as Louisiana would come no closer than nine points the rest of the night.
Louisiana returns home this week to continue Sun Belt play with a pair of home games, beginning a stretch in which four of the next six games will be played in Lafayette to close out January. The Cajuns host South Alabama on Wednesday (Jan. 9) at 7:00 p.m. at Earl K. Long Gym and Arkansas State on Saturday (Jan. 12) at 5:00 p.m. as part of a doubleheader with the men's team at the Cajundome.
BANK SHOTS: FIU entered the game owning a 16-6 lead in the all-time series, including a 6-3 record in games played in Miami...First-year Cajuns head coach Garry Brodhead started the combination of Brandi Schambough, Robbie Brown, Kia Wilridge, Ashley Benjamin and Jasmin Mills, a unit that has opened three straight games for the Cajuns...Wilridge and Benjamin started their team-high 13th start...The game pitted Brodhead, who owns seven collegiate victories in his first season as a head coach, against FIU head coach Cindy Russo, who has now won 679 games in 36 seasons as a head coach, including 639 in 34 years at FIU...The Cajuns dropped back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game losing streak Nov. 16-24...Keke Veal finished as the team's leading scorer for the fourth time in her rookie campaign...Veal led Louisiana in scoring in both games of the Florida swing, finishing the trip with an average of 12.0 points per game...Louisiana's 13 turnovers marked the second-lowest total committed and lowest since turning the ball over 11 times in the season opener at Southern...The Cajuns and Panthers complete their Sun Belt Conference home-and-home on Wednesday, Jan. 23 when FIU visits Earl K. Long Gym...The upcoming game with South Alabama at Earl K. Long Gym on Wednesday, marks the first contest in the facility since the Dec. 17 outing vs. UC Riverside.
NEWSPAPER BOX SCORE
Louisiana vs FIU
01/05/13 5:30 p.m. at Miami, Fla. (U.S. Century Bank Arena)
LOUISIANA (7-8, 1-5 SBC) Veal, Keke 5-13 0-0 14; Wilridge, Kia 3-10 4-4 10; Okde, Sylvana 3-14 0-0 8; Brown, Robbie 3-4 0-0 7; Benjamin, Ashley 3-5 0-0 6; Mills, Jasmin 1-1 0-0 2; Prejean, Adrienne 0-2 0-0 0; Whittaker, Megan 0-0 0-0 0; Schambough, Brandi 0-6 0-0 0. Totals 18-55 4-4 47
FIU (9-5, 3-2 SBC) Coley, Jerica 7-19 2-2 16; Mansare, Finda 6-14 3-4 15; Idom, Kamika 6-7 1-2 14; Miloglav, Carmen 3-6 1-3 7; Davydova, Marita 3-5 0-0 6; Durant, Arielle 2-5 1-4 5. Totals 27-56 8-15 63
Halftime Score: FIU 31, Louisiana 23. 3-point goals--Louisiana 7-25 (Veal, Keke 4-6; Okde, Sylvana 2-12; Brown, Robbie 1-1; Schambough, Brandi 0-5; Wilridge, Kia 0-1), FIU 1-2 (Idom, Kamika 1-1; Miloglav, Carmen 0-1). Fouled out--Louisiana-None, FIU-None. Rebounds--Louisiana 30 (Benjamin, Ashley 6; Wilridge, Kia 6), FIU 40 (Coley, Jerica 15). Assists--Louisiana 8 (Okde, Sylvana 3), FIU 15 (Coley, Jerica 8). Total fouls--Louisiana 14, FIU 7. Technical fouls--Louisiana-None, FIU-None. Att-385