NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns women’s basketball team’s run in the Sun Belt Tournament fell just short as the Cajuns dropped a 78-64 decision to Troy in the Championship game on Sunday at Lakefront Arena.
Playing in the Sun Belt final for the first time since 2007 and only the third time in program history, Louisiana couldn’t find its shooting rhythm and had a difficult time controlling the Trojans inside the paint.
Troy (22-10, 12-6 SBC) advances to the NCAA tournament by receiving the Sun Belt’s automatic bid for the second consecutive season.
Louisiana (20-11, 11-7 SBC) finishes with its third straight 20-win season and now awaits a berth into either the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) or the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI).
The Trojans led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter and extended their lead to 27-18 after Dajia Williams made 1-of-2 free throws with 6:07 left in the second period. Lauren Day made a jumper to give Troy a 32-22 lead with 1:56 to go in the second frame.
The Cajuns responded to trim the lead to 36-30 at halftime following two free throws from Jaylyn Gordon with eight seconds remaining until intermission.
Louisiana kept chipping away and cut the lead to 45-40 when Nekia Jones made two free throws with 4:47 left in the third quarter.
Troy held a 53-49 lead at the end of the third frame after two free throws by Caitlyn Ramirez with eight seconds to go in the period.
Troi Swain, who led the Cajuns with 20 points, made a jumper in the paint to help Louisiana only trail 56-53 with 8:10 remaining in the contest.
The Trojans were able to extend their lead from the free throw line and jumped in front 65-57 with 4:27 left in the game.
Swain connected on a trey to trim the lead to 70-64 with 1:31 to go in the game, but Troy was able to seal the deal from the line in the closing seconds.
Gordon, who finished the game with 15 points including 11-of-14 from the free throw line, was named to the All-Tournament Team. Simone Fields had 10 points for the Cajuns and was also tabbed on the All-Tournament Team.