LAFAYETTE — Playing without Preseason First Team All-Sun Belt Conference selections Ty’Reona Doucet and Brandi Williams, Louisiana had the opportunity to give valuable minutes to a handful of players on its roster ahead of the 2021-22 season during a 66-62 exhibition victory over Georgia Southwestern.
The Ragin’ Cajuns only had nine available players on Sunday afternoon, five of which are new to the team, but all nine made an impact by scoring at least one bucket.
Lafayette native Tamera Johnson led three Ragin’ Cajuns in double figures with 14 points, while Destiny Rice and Skyler Christmas each contributed 10. Rice also finished the game with seven rebounds.
Freshman Alicia Blanton had strong outing in her first game as a Ragin’ Cajun, scoring seven points, hauling in seven rebounds, dishing out two assists and leading the team with three steals.
Both teams traded baskets throughout the first quarter, but the Ragin’ Cajuns were able to pull away late when Ashlyn Jones, who finished the night with nine points and five rebounds, completed an old-fashioned three-point play to give the home team a 16-12 advantage after one.
Louisiana went ahead by five points on two different occasions during the second period, one of those instances coming with 1:23 before the break when Christmas buried a triple, but Georgia Southwestern responded with five-straight points to tie things up at 29-29 at halftime.
The Lady Hurricanes exploded out of the gate with a 12-5 run in the third quarter to go up 43-34 with 3:44 left at the media timeout.
However, the Cajuns did not panic and strung together an impressive 12-0 run, capped by a pair of made free throws from Johnson, to take a 46-43 lead into the fourth quarter.
Similar to the first 10 minutes of play, the two teams went back and forth for much of the final quarter.
Down 62-61 with 15 seconds remaining, Rice, who had struggled from the free throw line early on, made two clutch free throws to put her team ahead 63-62 and ultimately sealed what went on to be a 66-62 victory.
Louisiana will play its final exhibition game of the season on Friday, Nov. 5, when it welcomes Mississippi College to the CAJUNDOME. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m.
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