PENSACOLA, Fla. – Another strong defensive showing and huge performances from Makayia Hallmon and Lanay Wheaton helped Louisiana storm past Texas State, 71-46, on Friday afternoon in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Quarterfinals.
The Ragin’ Cajuns will face either UT Arlington or Georgia Southern on Sunday in the tournament semifinals. The team is making its third-straight appearance in the Final Four of the league tournament and its seventh appearance in the semis under head coach Garry Brodhead.
There was no stopping the Ragin’ Cajuns on either end of the floor after the offense scored 71 points, the 11th time the team has scored more than 70 points this season, and the defense held the Bobcats to just 46 points, the fewest the Cajuns have allowed to a Sun Belt opponent this year.
Louisiana (18-6, 9-4 Sun Belt) finished the game shooting 55 percent (29-for-53) from the floor, aided by a 19-point outing from Hallmon and an 18-point performance from Wheaton. With their offensive output, the Ragin’ Cajuns are now 10-1 when scoring more than 70 points and 8-0 when shooting better than 50 percent.
The defense was equally as impressive, forcing 16 turnovers that was converted into 20 points and holding Texas State (15-14, 9-6 Sun Belt) to its second-fewest point total of the season.
Sophomore Destiny Rice added nine points and five rebounds, while Ashlyn Jones and Caira Wren each contributed eight points off the bench. Jones also dished out a career-high four assists.
It was a dream start to the tournament for Louisiana, who opened the game on a 12-0 run and did not allow a Texas State basket until the 1:26 mark of the first quarter.
The Bobcats made their move in the second period, pulling within 18-15 at the 2:28 mark after a Jo’nah Johnson 3-pointer. The Ragin’ Cajuns countered with a 7-0 run capped by a jumper from Jones before a Jaeda Reed layup sent the game to halftime with Louisiana ahead, 25-17.
Both teams battled in the early goings of the second half until a quick five-point spurt by Texas State cut the lead to 32-27. The game turned quickly, though, as Louisiana put together a 13-2 run to end the third to go up 45-29.
It was smooth sailing for the Cajuns in the last 10 minutes, winning the fourth quarter 26-17 to lock up the 71-46 victory and send the team to their third-straight appearance in the semifinals.
More information on the Sun Belt Tournament, including an updated bracket and ticket information, can be found at the league’s tournament central page [sunbeltsports.org].
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