PENSACOLA, Fla. – Louisiana used a quick start on offense in the first quarter and double-digit scoring performances from Jomyra Mathis and Brandi Williams to run past South Alabama, 65-46, during the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon.
The top-seeded Ragin’ Cajuns (15-5, 13-1 Sun Belt) will now face the Little Rock Trojans in the semifinals on Sunday, March 7, at 1:30 p.m. CT. Louisiana is 3-0 against Little Rock this season and last played the Trojans one week ago, winning both games at the CAJUNDOME to clinch the 2020-21 Sun Belt Conference Regular Season Championship.
Mathis came through in a big way off the bench, scoring a game-high 17 points and pulling down seven rebounds, while Williams scored 14 points behind a 4-for-6 shooting performance from long range.
The Cajuns were able to find success on the glass all afternoon, out-rebounding the Jaguars, 50-32, with the help of a team-high 11 rebounds from Ty’Reona Doucet, a season-high 10 rebounds from Skyler Goodwin and nine boards from Kimberly Burton. Doucet narrowly missed out on a double-double in the contest with nine points, while also matching a career high with four assists.
Louisiana could not have scripted a better start to Saturday’s quarterfinal, taking an 11-0 lead 5:40 into the game following a second-chance jumper from Goodwin.
Powered by Antoinette Lewis, who finished the contest with 13 points and 11 rebounds, South Alabama responded with a 9-2 run to cut the lead to 13-9 four minutes later. However, the Cajuns quelled the Jags’ attack and took a 17-9 lead after Mathis buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
It took a while for both offenses to heat up in the second quarter, but Doucet finally got things started by scoring the first four points to push the score to 21-9. With a comfortable lead throughout the period, Diamond Morrison got into the action and drained two triples in the final 53 seconds to give her team a 33-18 cushion at halftime.
South Alabama (13-13, 9-9 Sun Belt) opened the third stanza with five-straight points and ultimately outscored Louisiana, 14-13, in the period, but it could not unlock Louisiana’s defense or stop its offense as the quarter ended with the Cajuns up 46-32.
Mathis caught fire once again in the fourth period, hitting a triple and scoring on a fast-break layup 41 seconds in to push the lead to 51-32 and force a South Alabama timeout.
The timeout proved effective for the Jaguars, who used an 11-4 run capped by a Janelle Jones 3-pointer to pull within 12 points (55-43) with 6:56 remaining. However, the trio of Doucet, Mathis and Williams helped Louisiana go ahead by as many as 21 points before locking down the 65-46 victory.
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