PENSACOLA, Fla. – Freshman Lanay Wheaton scored a team-high 22 points to lead three Ragin’ Cajuns in double figures, but Louisiana was unable to slow down a hot-shooting UT Arlington as the Lady Mavs advanced to the championship game with a 75-65 win on Sunday afternoon.
Destiny Rice added 11 points in the defeat and recorded a team-best three steals, while Tamera Johnson finished the game with 10 points. Senior Ty’Reona Doucet also played a key role, finishing her storied Ragin’ Cajuns career with seven rebounds and eight points.
Louisiana (18-7, 9-4 Sun Belt) had a good day shooting the basketball at a 40 percent (24-for-60) clip. However, UT Arlington was on fire and shot 50 percent from both the field (29-for-58) and from long range (7-for-14).
The Lady Mavs were led by Starr Jacobs, who produced a game-high 28 points.
UTA (19-7, 11-4 Sun Belt) jumped out to an early four-point lead, but Louisiana was able to settle things down and go ahead 11-10 following a Johnson layup. A 12-4 run from the Lady Mavs followed, putting them ahead seven, but Doucet answered with a jumper right before the horn sounded to cut the deficit to 22-17.
Louisiana won the second quarter, 15-11, behind five points from Makayia Hallmon and Rice, but a buzzer-beating floater from Jacobs gave UTA a 33-32 lead at halftime.
Wheaton scored the first two points of the second half from the charity stripe, but the Lady Mavs took advantage of an 11-4 run capped by a made 3-pointer by De’Sha Benjamin to go up 50-42 and force a Cajun timeout. The momentum stayed with UTA, who went ahead 11 before a Wheaton triple at the buzzer cut the lead 57-49 with 10 minutes to play.
Louisiana pulled within eight on two separate occasions in the final period but was unable to produce a run as UTA advanced to the title game with a 75-65 win.
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