COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns dropped their Women's National Invitation Tournament second round matchup, 83-62, to the No. 20 Texas A&M Aggies, Sunday afternoon here at Reed Arena.
Louisiana fought hard, and the Cajuns were even leading at the end of the first quarter, but the Aggies had too much firepower as they pulled ahead in the second half to come away with the victory.
The loss means the Cajuns will take part in one more game, as they've dropped to the consolation bracket in the WNIT and will have to wait and see who they'll face in their next game.
Freshman Skyler Goodwin, for the second straight game, scored 13 points in the game to lead Louisiana in scoring. Senior Nekia Jones had a great game finishing with 10 points and four assists, while senior Troi Swain added six points and three assists of her own as the Cajuns finished with two more assists then the Aggies on the night (15-13).
HOW IT HAPPENED (First Quarter): The Cajuns came out playing strong defense and they went basket for basket with the Aggies as they came out the gate, and when the fast paced first quarter came to the first media timeout, a Jones three-pointer followed by an Aggies turnover lead to the first media timeout and the score was tied at 12-12.
Jones came out of the break and nailed another three-pointer as the Cajuns went on a run that took them through the remainder of the quarter. A layup from redshirt freshman Danyale Bayonne and two free throws from Swain and Jones helped Louisiana finish the quarter on a 10-0 run.
In the quarter the Cajuns forced the Aggies to commit six turnovers as Louisiana's defense came out firing on all cylinders.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Second Quarter): The Cajuns scored the first basket of the second quarter, a free throw from Jones, pushing their game-best run to 12-0. But the Aggies ended it with a jump shot at 8:54, to put the score at 20-14.
Louisiana held onto to its lead through much of the second quarter, pushing back every time the Aggies started to get closer. But they couldn't hold the lead for the entire quarter, as the Aggies tied it and took the lead at 2:59 with a pair of free throws, making the score 24-23 Aggies.
But Louisiana didn't go away, and they answered back with a Bayonne layup (2:11) followed by a layup, at 1:43, by freshman Ty'Reonne Doucet, keeping the score tied at 27-27. The Aggies took the lead but a big three-point shot from senior Kendra Howard tied it at 30-30 with 48 seconds to go in the half.
Texas A&M then answered back with a three-pointer of their own to take a three-point lead, 33-30, into the half.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Third Quarter): Texas A&M came out and began to slowly pull away, but the Cajuns didn't just lay down and let it happen. For the first two minutes the Cajuns answered every Aggie basket with one of their own keeping it a three-point game at 38-35 as the clock moved past the seven-minute mark.
But a few missed shots from the Cajuns meant that Texas A&M themselves could go on a run 14-4 to end the second quarter and the Aggies went into the fourth quarter with a 59-41 lead.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Fourth Quarter): Howard came out and nailed a three pointer to start the fourth quarter, but the Aggies answered back as they kept control of the game and their lead.
Louisiana tried to get back into it with two baskets, at 8:42 and 8:02, from senior Simone Fields and Goodwin to make the score 61-48, but 13 points is as close the Cajuns would get to the Aggies.
They cut the lead to 13 two more times, first a jumper from sophomore Brittney Myles (6:59) and then less than a minute later, at the 6:18 mark, Jones sunk a free throw to make it 64-51. But from there the Aggies pulled away going on another run to finish the game off before Louisiana could cut it to single digits.
Both the Cajuns and the Aggies made their free throws down the stretch, but due to Texas A&M already in the lead, the Cajuns could never make up the defect as it grew slowly over the final five minutes of the game.
When the final whistle blew, the Cajuns had lost the game, 83-62, but not their pride as they played the Aggies well from start to finish showing they belonged on the big stage in only their second game of the season.
NEXT FOR THE RAGIN' CAJUNS: Louisiana will now have to wait until Tuesday night, when the final round two game is played between Louisville and Toledo, to find out where and who they'll play. The dates will be either Friday, Nov. 17 or Saturday, Nov. 18 and the times and locations will be decided on Tuesday night.
The consolation game will be the final game the Cajuns play in the tournament, win or lose, as they'll have a chance to get one more win in the Preseason WNIT to finish above .500 in the tournament.
NOTEWORTHY: Fields finished with six points giving her 996 career points moving her four points away from 1,000 points in her career, Fields also grabbed five boards; Doucet checked off three firsts tonight, first career points, rebounds and blocks as she finished with five points, five rebounds and two blocks; Bayonne finished with eight points on the night.
Louisiana, for the second straight game, held their opponent to under 40 percent shooting in the first half, as they held New Orleans to 31 percent shooting in their game on Friday, Nov. 10; The Cajuns finished with 15 assists making it the second straight game the Cajuns had double digit assists in a game;
First back-to-back double digit assist games since ULM (13 assists on Mar. 7, 2017) and Texas State (15 assists on Mar. 9, 2017); those two games was at the tail end of eight straight games from Feb. 11-Mar. 9, 2017 where the Cajuns had double digit assists.
FOLLOWING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS: Follow the Cajuns @RaginCajunsWBB on twitter for links to recaps and a links about who the Cajuns will face next in the Preseason WNIT.