UL Women Advance To WBI Finals, Defeat Youngstown St., 69-49
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajun women’s basketball team is headed back to the finals of the Women's Basketball Invitational, after defeating the Youngstown St. Penguins, 69-49, in semifinal action on Wednesday at the Cajundome.
Louisiana, the defending champions in the event, is now 7-0, all-time, in the WBI.
UL, who is now one win away from tying the program's single-season record for wins, defeated Siena, 52-50, in last year's WBI championship game.
The Cajuns, the top-seed in the eastern side of the bracket, will next host the winner of the match-up between Weber St. and USC Upstate on Saturday afternoon at 4 o'clock at Earl K. Long Gym.
Louisiana used a stifling defense to grab an early lead, forcing 10 first quarter turnovers, to hold a 28-8 advantage after 10 minutes of play.
Sophomore Simone Fields had a nice first period, scoring 7 points in the frame, while senior Keke Veal added 6 points and 3 rebounds.
Both teams shot the basketball well in the first quarter, with UL outshooting Youngstown St., 53%/50%.
The Cajuns were able to extend their lead in the second period, to as many as 13 points, at the 6:49 mark of the second quarter, before the Penguins went on a mini-run, to cut into the UL lead, before the Cajuns took a 38-33 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Louisiana outshot Youngstown St. from the floor in the first half, 52%/50%, while holding down a 16-13 rebound advantage.
Veal led the way for the Cajuns in the first half, with 11 points and 4 rebounds, while senior Kia Wilridge added 10.
Kelsea Newman paced the Penguins over the first 20:00, with 8 points and 2 rebounds.
Louisiana put down the clamps, defensively, in the third quarter, holding the Penguins to only 6 points in the period, and led the contest, 51-39, going into the fourth and final frame.
The Cajuns put it In cruise control in the fourth quarter, extending their lead to as many as 24 points, 65-41, at the 5:33 mark of the fourth quarter, before going on to the 20-point victory.
Louisiana finished the game outshooting Youngstown St. from the floor, 48%/36%, while also finishing with a 37-30 rebounding edge.
Wilridge led the way for the Cajuns, finishing with 22 points and 7 rebounds, while Veal, last year’s WBI Most Valuable Player, added 19 points and 8 rebounds, and Fields chipped in with 16 points and 8 boards..
In a losing cause for the Penguins, Nikki Arbanas and Janae Jackson both scored 11 points.
With the victory, Louisiana improves to 23-10, while Youngstown St. had their season come to an end, finishing with a mark of 21-13.