BOONE, N.C. – After seeing its lead dwindle down to 48-45 with 1:42 remaining, Louisiana dug deep and made nine free throws in the final 102 seconds to escape the Holmes Convocation Center and extend its winning streak to three games with a 57-51 victory over Appalachian State on Thursday evening.
The Ragin’ Cajuns, which entered the game ranked 50th nationally in made free throws this season, were just 3-for-4 from the charity stripe entering the final quarter before finishing the contest 12-for-14 (85.7 percent). Sophomore Brandi Williams concluded the night 8-for-10 from the charity stripe as part of her 12 points.
With the victory, Louisiana earned its first win in Boone since Feb. 23, 2017, when it defeated Appalachian State, 68-58, and improved to 6-3 all-time over the Mountaineers.
Junior Ty’Reona Doucet extended her double-digit scoring streak to five games after pouring in a game-high 18 points to go along with seven rebounds, while Jomyra Mathis added 11 points, her third-straight game with 10 or more points.
Louisiana also found success on the glass, outrebounding Appalachian State, 39-37, with the help of a season-high 11 boards from junior Kimberly Burton. The team is now 10-1 on the year when leading the way on the glass.
For the second consecutive game, the Ragin’ Cajuns’ offense got out to a quick start behind a balanced attack and produce an 8-2 run in the opening 2:59 to force a Mountaineer timeout. The lead was trimmed to 10-6 two minutes later, but Louisiana was able to produce a 6-0 run capped by a Kendall Bess jumper outside the paint to put the visitors ahead, 16-6, through one quarter.
After allowing a season-low six first quarter points, Louisiana continued to push and extended its lead to 22-10 after Mathis nailed a jumper at the 7:14 mark. The two teams then traded buckets before Appalachian State finished the final 3:29 on a 5-0 run, including a layup from Lainey Gosnell, to trim Louisiana’s lead to 24-17 at the break.
Williams scored two of her five third quarter points with 6:28 on the clock to extend the lead to 34-21. Mathis then finished the period with a driving layup in the final minute of the period to put Louisiana ahead, 41-30, with ten minutes remaining.
The Ragin’ Cajuns took their largest lead of the game at 48-34 when Burton knocked home a jumper with 6:36 left in the game. That was the last field goal that Louisiana would make, though, as Appalachian State produced an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to 48-45 with 1:42 remaining.
With the game on the line, the squad came up big at the free throw line, making nine of their 10 attempts in the final 1:42 to hold off the Mountaineers’ rally and preserve the 57-51 victory.
Louisiana wraps up its three-game road swing on Saturday, Feb. 29, when it travels to Conway, S.C., to take on the league leading Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. Tipoff from the HTC Center is slated for 1 p.m. CST.
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