UL Women’s Basketball: The Week Ahead
UL sophomore guard Kia Wilridge
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team has two big home games this week, taking on the Georgia St. Tigers on Thursday, while entertaining the WKU Lady Toppers on Saturday.
Louisiana is currently tied with WKU, ULM, Texas St., and Georgia St. for second in the Sun Belt Conference, each with 3-2 league marks.
If you notice, two of the teams the Cajuns are tied for second with, Georgia St. and WKU, are headed to Lafayette this week.
Louisiana will host Georgia St. at 5 o'clock on Thursday, in the opening game of a day/night women's/men's doubleheader at the Cajundome.
Georgia St., who is currently 7-10, overall, and 3-2 in Sun Belt Conference play, has been inconsistent this year. After losing their first five, the Panthers' longest win streak has been two games, while their longest losing streak has been two games.
Currently however, Georgia St. has won two-straight, so they'll come in with some momentum, as well as some confidence.
The Panthers have been inconsistent, mainly due to their defense, which is allowing 73.3 points-per-game, a stat which ranks ninth in the 10-team league. They also rank ninth in field goal percentage defense, with opponents shooting 42.5% against them for the season, and last in three-point field goal percentage defense, at 35.9.
What makes Georgia St. dangerous is that while they don't have anybody averaging more than 13.7 points-per-game, they do have multiple players that can score on any given night.
Kendra Long is the Panthers' leading scorer, but Kayla Nolan, Alisha Andrews, Gaby Moss, and Hailey Gerrin are all averaging more than seven points a contest.
Andrews is fun to watch. She's only 4-foot-11, and can shoot the three-pointer.
If the Cajuns are going to defeat Georgia St. they're going to pressure the Panthers, and shoot the basketball well.
Louisiana ranks first in the league in turnover margin, at +6.38, so their defensive pressure has been a key component in all ten of their victories.
As for shooting, UL went 0-26 during one stretch in an 87-75 setback to Troy on Saturday. It's hard to beat anybody when you have a shooting stretch like that.
On Saturday, the Cajuns entertain the WKU Lady Toppers, at 5 o'clock, in the back end of a men's/women's doubleheader.
WKU, who has won six of their last eight, but lost at home to Arkansas St. last Saturday, 67-64, ranks second in the league in scoring (72.3), and third in defense (64.4), while ranking first in scoring margin (+7.9).
The Lady Toppers, have one of the top players in the league, in Chastity Gooch, who is third in the conference in scoring, at 17.1 points-per-game, and first in rebounding, at 9.6 a contest.
To defeat WKU, Louisiana is going to need one of the best efforts of the year. Again, they're going to have to rely on pressure, and keep the Lady Toppers from getting too many easy baskets. They're also going to have to shoot it well, and they're going to have to keep Gooch from scoring 25 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, two things she's more than capable of doing.
This is a crucial stretch for Garry Brodhead's squad, with three of the next four at home.
On the flip side, Louisiana will end the season with three of their last four on the road, with road game remaining at Arkansas St. and WKU.
The next four games, including the two this week may not make or break their season, but then again, they could.