LAFAYETTE – Behind its second-best shooting percentage of the season and four players scoring double figures, Louisiana clinched the No. 4 seed in next week’s Sun Belt Conference Tournament with a 70-64 victory over Texas State on Saturday afternoon.
Picked to finish in eighth place in the preseason poll, the fourth-seeded Ragin’ Cajuns will face No. 9 Georgia Southern in the opening round of the tournament, which will be played at the Cajundome on Tuesday, March 10, at 7 p.m. CST. Fifth-ranked Little Rock and No. 8 Appalachian State will also face off in the Cajundome on Tuesday at 3 p.m. CST.
Louisiana (17-12, 10-8 SBC) has now won 10 more games than it did a season ago, while doubling its conference win total as well. The victory also gave the team its first win over Texas State at home since March 2, 2017, when it won, 66-64.
Junior Skyler Goodwin was a driving force in the team’s 49 percent (24-for-49) shooting performance, finishing the day with a game-high 17 points. Fellow junior Kim Burton, who missed the majority of Thursday’s game, added 15 points, while Brandi Williams contributed 12 points of her own.
Ty’Reona Doucet was also a handful on Saturday, nearly posting a double-double with 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds. She also swatted two shots to improve her season total to 37, tying her for ninth all-time for the most blocks in a single season.
On top of its hot shooting, the Ragin’ Cajuns outrebounded the Bobcats, 31-28, improving the team to 11-1 on the year when outrebouding its opponents.
The Ragin’ Cajuns got off to another good start, jumping out to an early 6-2 to lead before Texas State (13-16, 6-12 SBC) rallied with a 9-2 to run to go up 11-8 with 3:40 in the first. The visitors were unable to hold onto that lead, though, as Burton rattled off six-straight points to give the Cajuns a 15-13 lead after 10 minutes.
After trading buckets to start the second quarter, Texas State pulled within 24-23 following a Chelsea Johnson layup, but Goodwin responded with six unanswered points to push the lead to 30-23 with 2:16 to play in the half. The lead continued to grow and eventually landed at 37-27 at the break following two late free throws from Burton.
Doucet kept the Cajuns’ lead in double digits at 41-31 with 7:02 in the third quarter before Texas State crept its way back and eventually tied the game at 48 all after a Johnson layup. However, Burton came up big and buried a triple at the buzzer from the right wing to put Louisiana back in front, 51-48.
Da’Nasia Hood gave Texas State its first lead since the opening period 26 seconds into the fourth quarter with a driving layup under the basket, but the Cajuns were able to overcome the deficit following a Williams triple to go up 58-45 with 5:37 to play.
Texas State would pull as close as 60-57 with just under two minutes remaining in the contest, but a Jomyra Mathis layup with 46 seconds on the clock ultimately put the game out of reach as Louisiana finished the game out at the charity stripe to secure the 70-64 victory.
Tickets for Louisiana’s game against Georgia Southern, as well as the game between Little Rock and Appalachian State, will go on sale on Monday. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone by calling 337-265-2170, or at the Cajundome Box Office.
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