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Slow start stunts Cajuns on the road

Jackson St. 65, Louisiana 54
Posted at 11:32 PM, Dec 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 00:32:59-05

JACKSON, MS — After a cold-shooting performance in the first half, Louisiana battled its way back into the game and pulled within a possession in the final 90 seconds of Sunday’s contest before falling to Jackson State, 65-54.

The Ragin’ Cajuns could not get anything to fall in the opening 20 minutes, shooting 15.4 percent (4-for-26) from the floor. Things picked up for Louisiana in the second half when it outscored Jackson State, 27-14, in the third quarter, but it was not enough to steal back a victory in the team’s final non-conference game of the campaign.

Louisiana finished the game 33.3 percent (19-for-57) from the field after its big second half, powered by a 52.6 percent (10-for-19) mark in the third period. Along with its shooting woes, the team was outrebounded 45-36 in the contest and allowed Jackson State to score 15 second-chance points as a result.

Sophomore Brandi Williams returned to her old ways, finishing in double figures for the first time since Dec. 7 and the fifth time this season after recording 13 points against the Lady Tigers. Kimberly Burton joined her in double figures, matching a career high with 11 points.

Burton gave Louisiana a 7-6 lead midway through the first quarter, but from there on it was all Jackson State, which finished the final 15:17 of the half on a 28-10 run to take a 35-16 lead into the locker room.

Louisiana’s offense came to life in the second half, outscoring the home team, 27-14, in the third quarter on the back of two big runs and clutch shots, including back-to-back triples from Williams, to cut the lead to 49-43 with 10 minutes remaining in the game.

With just under seven minutes to play, the Lady Tigers pushed the lead to double digits at 55-45 with two free throws, but an Andrea Cournoyer fast-break jumper cut the lead to 57-52 with 3:18 to play.

Less than two minutes later, Williams trimmed the lead to 57-54 at the 1:29 mark and looked to put Louisiana in great position to potentially make a move, but a dagger 3-pointer on the other end pushed the Lady Tigers’ lead out to 60-54 and sparked an 8-0 run that sealed the victory for Jackson State.

Louisiana opens Sun Belt Conference play on the road on Jan. 2, 2020, when it heads to Georgia to face off with Georgia State. Tip off in Atlanta is slated for 5 p.m. CST and will be broadcast on ESPN+.