LAFAYETTE – Trailing by one point with less than 20 seconds to play, Louisiana had the opportunity to finish off a thrilling comeback but was unable to get two different shots to go down as the Ragin’ Cajuns fell to UT Arlington 62-60 on Thursday night.
Freshman Tamera Johnson, who scored 10 points and hauled in seven rebounds in the game, gave her team a one-point advantage with 1:07 to play as part of a huge fourth-quarter surge, but UTA scored the last three points in the final 41 seconds to clinch the win in both team’s Sun Belt Conference opener.
Point guard Destiny Rice had a monster performance, notching a career-high 17 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Ty’Reona Doucet also had a big showing, recording her second double-double of the year with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Louisiana (8-3, 0-1 Sun Belt) shot 43 percent (25-for-58) from the floor and outrebounded UTA, 35-33, but was outscored 20-6 on the fast break, a stat that proved to be the difference in the game. The visitors also benefited from the stellar play of Starr Jacobs, who scored a game-high 24 points and notched five rebounds.
Both team’s came out firing in the opening period, trading buckets through the first eight minutes before a quick 5-1 run saw the Lady Mavs go ahead 22-17. Louisiana cut the lead to three points twice in the second quarter, but UTA ended the final 5:20 of the first half on a 12-2 run to take a 41-28 lead at halftime.
UT Arlington (7-3, 1-0 Sun Belt) maintained its double-digit advantage throughout the third quarter and into the final period before Lanay Wheaton, who scored 10 points, made a layup to cut the deficit to 57-48. That bucket sparked a huge 11-2 run that finished with Johnson’s go-ahead layup with 67 seconds left.
Following a Terryn Milton layup and a made free throw by Camryn Hawkins, the Ragin’ Cajuns saw good looks from Makayia Hallmon, who finished the night with eight points and four rebounds, and Wheaton, but neither were able to get a shot to fall as the Cajuns fell in heartbreaking fashion by a score of 62-60.
Louisiana returns to action on New Year’s Day when it welcomes Texas State to the CAJUNDOME. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. and will be streamed live on ESPN+.
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