LAFAYETTE – There was no stopping Lanay Wheaton, Tamera Johnson, and Makayia Hallmon on Saturday afternoon, who combined for 67 of Louisiana’s 78 points in the team’s thrilling 78-72 victory over Texas State at the CAJUNDOME.
Saturday’s contest featured 15 lead changes and 11 ties before the Ragin’ Cajuns were able to snag their first Sun Belt Conference victory of the season behind a 51-point second-half performance.
Wheaton and Johnson each posted career highs in the victory, scoring 26 points and 25 points, respectively, while Hallmon quietly put together a 16-point showing off the bench. Caira Wren, who started in place of Ty’Reona Doucet, went 3-for-3 from the field for seven points and added three rebounds.
Entering the contest ranked 42nd in the nation in field-goal percentage, the team finished the game shooting 51 percent (30-for-59) from the floor with stellar shooting displays.
Louisiana (9-3, 1-1 Sun Belt) was equally as impressive on defense, forcing 20 turnovers and converting them into 20 points. The Cajuns also recorded 10 steals.
It was a slow but lively start to the game, with both teams going back-and-forth in the opening quarter and playing to a 15-15 draw.
Taylor Kennedy, who scored 20 points for the Bobcats, put her team up 20-15 early in the second period, but the Ragin’ Cajuns did not allow the deficit to get out of control and went into the locker room trailing 29-27.
Wheaton and Johnson both helped Louisiana get things going early in the second half and put their team up by five points on two separate occasions midway through the third, but Texas State (6-8, 1-1 Sun Belt) found a way to respond and took the lead late with a Da’Nasia Hood 3-pointer, three of her 20 points in the game.
However, the Cajuns scored the final four points of the frame, including a triple from Johnson, to take a 47-44 lead after 45 minutes of action.
Louisiana did not relinquish its lead in the final period, making its last seven field goals and burying nine free throws in the final two minutes to claim the 78-72 victory.
The Ragin’ Cajuns will get their first taste of conference road play next week when it travels to Jonesboro to take on Arkansas State on Thursday, Jan. 6. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on ESPN+
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