Jan 25, 2014 11:40 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE, La. - Sylvana Okde scored a team-high 16 points to register her six double-digit performance in the past seven games, but it was not enough as the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns dropped a tough 68-63 decision to WKU in a Sun Belt Conference game Saturday at the Cajundome.
The Cajuns fell to 10-8 overall and 3-4 in Sun Belt play.
Okde, a sophomore, finished 6-for-12 from the floor, including 4 of 8 from behind the 3-point line as the Ragin' Cajuns third consecutive league game.
Fellow sophomore Brooklyn Arceneaux also continued her hot streak for the Ragin' Cajuns posting her fourth straight double-digit game, scoring 13 points, including 5-for-8 from the free throw line with four rebounds.
"I though we played our game," head coach Garry Brodhead said. "I thought we were able to help out in the post, and I know that (Chasity) Gooch got her points, but we out-rebounded them. I was impressed with the way we were trying to defend, the kids pretty much executed, but we fell short."
The Cajuns started the game fast with a quick 5-0 lead, before WKU battled back to take over the lead, and hold it for a majority of the first half. A jumper from Gooch with 9:11 left in the half put WKU up, 19-12, for their biggest lead of the first 20 minutes.
The Cajuns wouldn't go away in the first half, matching WKU bucket-for-bucket before finishing the half on a 15-8 run, capped off by a Jasmin Mills layup that knotted the game at 29-29 at the break
The Lady Toppers came out of the break and mimicked the Cajuns' first half start, scoring five early points to retake the lead, 34-29.
Okde responded for the Cajuns with back-to-back 3-pointers and a steal, giving the Cajuns their first lead since the early portions of the game, 35-34.
Kendall Noble hit a pair of free throws for WKU with 15:18 remaining to give the Lady Toppers a 36-35 they would not relinquish.
The Cajuns had multiple instances to tie the game or take the lead, but could never get the shot to fall when it needed.
"It's tough when you are a little bit smaller," Brodhead said about getting the important shot to fall. "To me it is more about how we defend if we miss a rebound. We could have a two-point lead and miss a rebound and it's tied again, or they can kick it out for a three."
WKU looked to pull away late, going up 65-52 with 3:52 left in the game, but the Cajuns wouldn't go away, keeping the game within a few points, ultimately falling by five, 68-63.
The Toppers were led by Gooch with 22 points, and Noble with 19. Gooch also chipped in with 11 points to complete the double-double, while shooting 10-for-12 from the field and picking up four blocks.
"She takes so much attention," Brodhead said of Gooch. "It takes away from the attention we can pay on everyone else. You have to give up something when you defend her because you have to give her a lot of attention."
The Cajuns held the edge in shooting percentage, shooting 23-for-50 (46.0 percent) compared to 21-for-49 for WKU (42.9 percent). But the difference was at the free throw line with WKU hitting 20-for-25 (80.0 percent) compared to 12-for-21 (57.1 percent) for the Cajuns.
"Free throws is what it comes down to," Brodhead said. "We write something on the board and we were trying to keep them under 60 points, we tried to shoot 80 percent from the free throw line, and we fell short. I think the free throws hurt us the most."
Mills led the Cajuns in rebounds, grabbing six in the game including five on the offensive side of the court.
Okde, who leads the Cajuns with 48 3-pointers on the season, hit four-or-more 3-pointers for the fifth time this year while increasing her consecutive game streak with a 3-pointer to 21 dating back to last season.
"If we follow our game plan we are always going to have a chance," Brodhead said. "If we have a game plan and we play as a team, with everybody productive, we will have a chance against anybody we play."
The Cajuns will return to Sun Belt Conference play on Wednesday when it travels to face UALR in a 7 p.m. contest. Louisiana will return home on Saturday when it plays host to ULM in a 5 p.m. contest.