Feb 2, 2013 9:57 PM by UL Sports Information
TROY, Ala. - Sarah McAppion scored four straight points as part of a 9-0 run to end the game, including the game-tying basket and a pair of free throws to give the Trojans the lead for good, as Troy defeated the Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team, 68-61, here Saturday night in Trojan Arena.
The loss extends the Cajuns (7-15, 1-12 Sun Belt) losing streak to eight straight games going back to a Dec. 29 overtime win over UALR, while Troy (4-17, 1-11 Sun Belt) wins for just the fourth time this season.
Keke Veal led three Cajuns in double figures with 19 points, 10 rebounds and six steals. Ashley Benjamin added 14 points and nine rebounds and Jasmin Mills chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Joanna Harden led Troy with 18 points. McAppion joined her in double figures with 14 points.
"We just didn't finish tonight," Louisiana head coach Garry Brodhead said. "We put ourselves in a great position to win this game, but let it slip away in the final two minutes.
"We made some bad decisions offensively down the stretch," Brodhead added. "We had good chances, but made a couple of unforced turnovers that hurt. I was worried going into the game because we didn't practice well the last two days and it showed on the court."
After battling back from a seven-point deficit early in the second half, the Ragin' Cajuns found themselves leading, 61-59, with 2:45 left when Mills drove the lane for an easy basket.
But like they had done all night long, Troy answered a Cajun rally - that either tied the game or put UL ahead - by running off the final eight points of the game.
McAppion started it by gaining separation inside for an easy basket to tie the game at 61-all with 2:28 left, the 11th tied score of the contest. The Cajuns were called for a shot clock violation on their next possession after Veal's trey from the corner was blocked.
McAppion was fouled at the other end, converting both free throws to put Troy ahead, 63-61 with 1:38 remaining. The freebies led to the 11th and final time the teams swapped the lead.
McAppion came up with another big play, stripping Ashley Benjamin of the ball inside, leading to a basket by Britney McCloud with 1:10 left that put the Trojans ahead, 65-61.
Forced to shoot outside, the Cajuns missed four three-pointers down the stretch while Troy converted three of its four free throws to claim the win.
Cold-shooting hurt Louisiana in the game as the Cajuns converted 25 of their 67 shots (.373), while Troy was 28-for-57 (.491). Louisiana made up for it by pounding the boards, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds in the contest to own a 21-0 advantage in second chance points.
"We haven't been shooting the ball like we are capable of doing," Brodhead added. "We have seven games left before the tournament and we need to turn things around. I thought tonight could have been that win to get it started."
The opening minutes of the game featured four ties and five lead changes.
Louisiana matched its largest lead of the first half when Sylvana Okde knocked down a three-pointer with 10:42 left that put the Cajuns ahead, 15-12.Troy answered with eight straight points, including a pair of baskets by Harden, to open up a 20-15 lead with 8:53 left.
The Cajuns came right back and tied the game at 20-20 with 7:11 remaining, however six straight points gave the Trojans a 26-20 advantage en route to a 33-28 lead into the intermission.
Troy took its largest lead of the game (35-28, 19:21) when McAppion scored in the lane to start the second half, but the Cajuns ran off six straight points, including four by Veal, to pull to within 35-34 at the 17:06 mark.
The Trojans would rebuild the lead to 39-34 (15:53) before Louisiana went on an 11-2 spurt to take a 45-41 lead (12:31). Okde gave the Cajuns their first lead of the half, 42-41, on a 17-foot jumper at 13:11.
The two teams traded punches after that with the game being tied at 47, 49, 51, 53, 57 and 59. Mills put Louisiana ahead, 61-59, on a driving layup with 2:45 left, setting the stage for Troy's final scoring run.
The Cajuns will now have over a week to prepare for their next game, taking both Thursday and Saturday night off from league play before hosting UL-Monroe on Sunday, Feb. 10 beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Cajundome. It will be a doubleheader with the men's team facing the WarHawks that day at 7:30 p.m.