Cajuns string together wins, beat Arkansas State Thursday - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Cajuns string together wins, beat Arkansas State Thursday

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LAFAYETTE – Clutch free throw shooting down the stretch and a Sun Belt Conference game high 25 caused turnovers, gave the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team the regular season sweep over the Arkansas State Red Wolves with a 60-53 victory Thursday night at the Cajundome.
The win improved the Cajuns record to 15-14 (10-7 SBC) while the loss dropped the Red Wolves record to 14-14 (9-8 SBC).  It's the fourth straight win the Cajuns have had against Arkansas State and for the second straight season they've completed the regular season sweep of the Red Wolves.
Freshman Skyler Goodwin led the Cajuns in scoring with 12 points on 8 for 10 shooting from the free throw line and senior Simone Fields gave the Cajuns their second player in double-digits with 10 points.  Freshman Ty'Reonne Doucet was impressive off the bench as she had six points and seven rebounds.  Louisiana outscored the Red Wolves in both points in the paint (26-24) and points off of turnovers (28-15).  The Cajuns also got 34 points off the bench while shooting 73 percent from the line to help finish off the Red Wolves.

HOW IT HAPPENED (First Quarter): Louisiana got the turnover fest off to a fast start with the Cajuns causing five Arkansas State turnovers in the first five minutes.  In fact, the Cajuns defense was strong throughout the quarter forcing a scoring drought by the Red Wolves through the middle part of the quarter that lasted just about four minutes.
During that stretch the Cajuns pushed their lead to seven going up 12-5 at one point in the period, but a pair of three-point baskets from the Red Wolves allowed them to cut into the Cajuns lead.  Louisiana's lead was sitting at two when they got the final possession, freshman Jomyra Mathis dribbled at the top of the three-point arc, crossed over her defender and as the clocked ticked down she kissed a jumper off the glass to give the Cajuns a buzzer-beating basket and a four-point lead, 15-11, after one period of play.

HOW IT HAPPENED (Second Quarter): The Cajuns came out and pushed their lead back to seven points while their defense maintained their dominating presence, causing eight turnovers in the period and it was a key reason why Louisiana would stay ahead of the Red Wolves.
Louisiana hit a scoring drought starting at the 5:15 mark, but through that stretch, and Louisiana entering the cold spell up by seven (21-14) the Red Wolves could only get as close as three points. During that stretch the Cajuns defense caused Arkansas State to miss four shots and turn the ball over once and a three-point basket from senior Troi Swain ended the drought and got the Cajuns back on the right foot.
Three more free throws by the Cajuns pushed their lead back to nine points, and as halftime rolled along, the Cajuns were up 27-18 having finished the half on a 6-0 run to carry momentum into the locker room.

HOW IT HAPPENED (Third Quarter): Louisiana struggled coming out of the locker room, not scoring for the first three and a half minutes before a big play from Doucet ended that spell.  She jumped a pass just past half court and deflected the pass down the right sideline.  She hunted down the deflection, and easily finished off the fast break layup.
Arkansas State attempted to cut into the lead, but Fields had other ideas.  Coming out of the media timeout at the 4:43 mark of the quarter, Fields came out of the break on fire hitting back-to-back baskets to push the score to 35-27 with just over three minutes left. 
Again, the Cajuns slipped into a scoring drought, and the Red Wolves began to cut into Louisiana's lead.  At one point slicing it down to one point, but that's the closest the Red Wolves would get for the remainder of the game and Fields hit a jumper with the clock sitting at eight seconds and that put the score at 37-34 with the Cajuns holding a three-point lead heading into the final quarter.

HOW IT HAPPENED (Fourth Quarter): Things got physical in the final quarter, as both teams traded baskets for the first three minutes of the quarter and a layup from Doucet followed by two free throws from Burton put the Cajuns up by 10 points (44-34) at the 6:32 mark. 
Arkansas State cut back into the Cajuns lead, dropping it bellow double-digits to get within five points with back-to-back baskets as the clock ticked below four minutes left in the game.  Sophomore Jasmine Thomas nailed a three-point basket to put the Cajuns up by eight points and that would be the last field goal the Cajuns would make for the remainder of the game.
But it wasn't the last point as Louisiana began to get sent to the line by Arkansas State and the Cajuns made sure to take the free points whenever they could.  The Cajuns would go 11-14 from the line during the final two plus minutes of the game, to help them maintain their lead.  Any basket made by Arkansas State during those final minutes was nullified by the Cajuns great shooting from the line a free throw from Goodwin put the Cajuns up by seven, which is the winning scoring margin that Louisiana would take the game with, as the final score sat at 60-53.

NOTEWORTHY: Fields scored 10 points in the game which gives her 1,254 points which puts her eighth all-time in Cajuns history passing Anna Petrakova on the list; The 25 turnovers is the most the Cajuns have caused in a SBC game this season; Louisiana shot 73 percent from the line (78 percent in the fourth quarter) and that's the best they've shot in a conference game this season.

UP NEXT FOR THE CAJUNS: Louisiana wraps up their season with one final game against Little Rock on Saturday, Mar. 3.  The game, starting at 4 p.m. is also senior night for four Cajuns, Fields, Swain, Nekia Jones and Kendra Howard so make sure to come out and celebrate the Cajuns' seniors.

FOLLOWING THE RAGIN' CAJUNS: Follow the Cajuns on twitter @RaginCajunsWBB for updates during the game, links to live stats, the stream and a link to the recap following the games action.

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