LAFAYETTE – 10 second half points from senior Simone Fields along with 14 points from senior Nekia Jones helped the Cajuns get their fourth straight Sun Belt Conference win over the ULM Warhawks, 63-55, here at the Cajundome.
The win, Louisiana's seventh straight over ULM, pushes the Cajuns record over .500 as they improve to 9-8 (4-1 SBC), while the loss drops the Warhawks record to 4-12 (1-4 SBC) and it's their second straight loss.
Fields finished with a team high 16 points on 8-15 shooting, while Jones was 5-9 (4-7 from three-point range). Louisiana caused 14 turnovers in the game, 10 of which came in the first half, while they outrebounded ULM 39-30 with freshman Ty'Reona Doucet leading the Cajuns in rebounds with eight.
HOW IT HAPPENED (First Quarter): The Cajuns came out and snagged the lead early in the first few minutes of the quarter, while both teams struggled through the first three minutes of the quarter. In fact, ULM didn't get a field goal until Gabriella Cortez hit a layup at the 7:30 mark of the quarter, but the Warhawks were solid from the free throw line and they held a four-point lead after Cortez converted the old-fashioned three-point play.
But Louisiana's defense stayed strong through the quarter and they caused eight ULM turnovers through the quarter and as the quarter came down the stretch, the Cajuns started to convert on offense. A layup from Doucet with 10 seconds left in the quarter put the Cajuns up by three, with the score sitting at 14-11 in favor of Louisiana when the quarter wrapped up.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Second Quarter): The Cajuns were powered by Doucet's tenacity on the boards as she would grab six rebounds in the second quarter. Louisiana drove the basket well through the quarter drawing fouls and getting to the line, but they really pulled ahead during the middle part of the quarter on back-to-back three-point baskets from Jones.
Their biggest lead of the game, to that point, was at 11 thanks to one of those Jones three-pointers but, with the quarter halfway through, ULM began to chip away at the Cajuns lead. Helped by a Cajuns scoring drought that lasted roughly three minutes, ULM got the score within five points on two free throws from Cortez.
But the Cajuns didn't let that phase them as they sophomore Jasmine Thomas nailed a layup and Fields beat the buzzer on a layup to extend Louisiana's lead back to nine points, and the score sat at 32-23 when both teams headed into the locker room.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Third Quarter): ULM came out and hit the Cajuns with their best shot, as they started the half with a 10-3 run to cut the Cajuns lead to two points. Louisiana struggled for the first four minutes of the quarter and it wasn't until sophomore Malachi-Seraphin Williams nailed a jumper to end the drought.
Both teams then got into a two-minute scoring drought, with the Cajuns holding a four-point lead. Things then went back and forth, but with each team answering each other's scores and with 2:30 left in the quarter the Cajuns held a six-point lead with the score at 44-38.
Two free throws from ULM down the stretch cut the Cajuns lead to four points, with the Cajuns leading the Warhawks 44-40 as the quarter came to an end.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Fourth Quarter): Answering the run from ULM, the Cajuns came out and extended their lead back to 11 points with a 7-0 run. The run was started with a three-point shot from Jones, and back-to-back baskets from Fields that put the score at 51-40 in favor of Louisiana.
ULM's attempts to come back through the remainder of the game, where all shot down by a response from the Cajuns. Fields scored six of her 16 points in the quarter, including the final basket to put a nail in the Warhawks' coffin as the Cajuns came away with their fourth straight conference win, with the final score sitting at 63-55.
NOTEWORTHY: The Cajuns held their first conference opponent to under 40 percent shooting, holding ULM to 39 percent from the field; Louisiana outrebounded the Warhawks 39-30, which is the first conference opponent they've done that against this season; The Cajuns outscored ULM 34-20 in the paint which was the second straight game they've done that in; Over the past three games the Cajuns have forced 62 turnovers.
UP NEXT FOR THE CAJUNS: Looking for their fifth straight conference win, Louisiana hits the road on the Texas swing, with the Cajuns facing UT-Arlington on Thursday, Jan. 18 in Arlington, Texas and they'll finish up their road trip with a visit to San Marcos, Texas where they'll take on Texas State on Saturday, Jan. 20.
FOLLOWING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS: Follow the Cajuns on twitter @RaginCajunsWBB for updates during the game and links to live stats, streaming and recaps following the games.