Nov 9, 2013 12:21 AM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE, La. - The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team got their 2013-14 season started on a positive note, defeating the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks, 80-68 on Friday, November 8 at the Cajundome.
Louisiana finished the game with four players in double-digit scoring, Jasmin Mills (20) Ashley Benjamin (15), Keke Veal (15), and Sylvana Okde (13).
"I thought we played really hard today," head coach Garry Brodhead said after the game. "We tried to extend the court a little bit but got into foul trouble. We are still trying to adjust to the way they are calling the game now."
The Cajuns will return to the court on Monday, November 11 when they take on Southern-New Orleans at 7 p.m. at the Cajundome.
The game started at a slow pace, tied 4-4 at the first media timeout. Veal came out of the timeout fast and forced a turnover leading to a layup, and then on the ensuing possession hit a three to give the Cajuns an early lead, which would never be relinquished.
The Cajuns opened up their lead to 21-11 with 11:03 left in the half, their biggest lead of the half, finding success by spreading the ball around the court. Nebraska-Omaha battled back, finding their own shooting stroke, and the teams went into the half with the Cajuns leading 37-30.
Louisiana continued to preserve the lead with the two teams matching points for the most part in the first ten minutes of the second half.
The Cajuns shot at .483 percent in the second half, scoring on 14-of-29 shots, compared to hitting 14-of-40 in the first half.
The Cajuns pulled away in the final ten minutes, outscoring the Mavericks 20-8 in about a five-minute span, leading to a decisive 80-68 victory. Mills keyed the run for the Cajuns with seven points.
"We were running some zone offense which wasn't working," Brodhead said of the run. "So we went to one of our main offenses and it fit for it. We started to dive our posts to the goal, and [Mills] started getting open. We got some easy looks and opened it up."
Mills picked up her first double-double of the season and fourth of her career, scoring 20 points and picking up 11 rebounds. 14 of her points came in the second half, after going into the break with just six points and seven rebounds.
"My team helped set me up for different opportunities to score," Mills said after the game. "I just took advantage of it. It feels great to know that we have a lot of energy that we can play with."
Benjamin also posted a double-double, the second of her career. She scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Her only previous double-double came on December 29, 2012 when she scored 12 points with 11 rebounds against UALR.
"If we can keep [Benjamin] and [Mills] scoring in double figures that will be great," Brodhead said of the four players above 10 points. "Veal and Okde are going to score. If they can continue this it's going to help us improve and get ready for conference."
Nebraska Omaha's Brianna Bogard led all players in the game with 29 points, playing her first career game with Nebraska Omaha.
Defensively, the Cajuns shut down two of the Maverick's top returning players in Ericka House and Taijhe Kelly. They held the duo to eight combined points and nine combined rebounds. Last year, the duo combined for 25 points in the game against Louisiana.
"We decided this morning to go ahead and face guard them," Brodhead said of Nebraska-Omaha's big players. "Actually the team decided that. They wanted to limit their touches and I thought we did a good job. The only thing that didn't work was we needed to contain [Bogard] more."
As a team, the Cajuns finished the game shooting .406 (28-for-69) from the field, and from the free throw line they shot .606 (20-for-33).
The Cajuns have one more home game on Monday, November 11, at 7 p.m. against Southern-New Orleans, before taking to the road for their first away test of the season, against Sam Houston State on November 15, at 11:30 a.m.
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