Shooting woes: Cajuns win as Cowgirls go cold

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, November 30, 2021

By Jim Gazzolo

Special to the Daily News

Sometimes you can’t shoot your way out of trouble no matter how hard you try.

A poor afternoon of shooting left McNeese State in a world of trouble Sunday in Burton Coliseum.

Taking advantage of a cold Cowgirl showing from the floor was Louisiana-Lafayette. Without leading scorer and Barbe High School star Brandi Williams, the Ragin Cajuns still had enough for a 67-57 victory.

The win was the seventh straight for ULL in the battle of neighborhood rivals. McNeese last won Nov. 21, 2011 in Lake Charles.

Williams, who was averaging 15.3 points a game, has missed the last three with a knee injury and could be out for the year.

“It wasn’t pretty,” said Cajun head coach Garry Brodhead, who was a former assistant at McNeese. “We are still learning how to play without Brandi.”

The young Cowgirls are still learning how to play together. So there were some growing pains, especially early.

McNeese shot just 17 of 66 from the field (25.3%) and only 10 of 37 (27%) from beyond the 3-point line.

“We have to get off to better starts,” said first year McNeese coach Lynn Kennedy. “We hit our first three of the game and you think here we go, then we miss our next 12 or so. Makes it tough.”

Desirae Hansen led McNeese with a game-high 19 points while freshman Kaili Chamberlin added

10. The loss drops McNeese’s record to 3-3, which is still the first time since 2016 that the Cowgirls exit November with a .500 mark or above.

ULL was led by Makayia Hallmon and Ty’Reona Doucet with 14 points each. The Cajuns improved to 5-1 with the win.

McNeese’s best chance to get back in the game came midway through the third quarter. Down by 10 the Cowgirls cut the lead in half with a 5-0 run as a Chamberlin three changed momentum. But a quick steal that led to a fast break ended with a turnover.

ULL’s Destiney Rice made Mc-Neese pay, hitting a 3-point shot and following that with a traditional 3-point play. The 6-0 run in nine seconds moved the lead back to double digits at 42-31 and restored some order for the Cajuns.

“That was a big spot but we had other chances,” said Kennedy. “Our defense was good enough, our rebounding was good enough to win, but our shooting wasn’t. We have to take advantage of our looks.

“We got the shots we wanted even early, but we didn’t knock them down. I would take every one of those shots again. We just have to hit them.”

The Cowgirls started just 2 of 18 from the field in the opening quarter, missing 12 in a row at one point. Chamberlin hit the game’s first shot, a 3-pointer.

ULL used that to grab an 18-10 lead after one quarter.

“We tried not to let them get open looks,” said Brodhead. “I think a lot of their misses early was because of what we were doing.”

The lead stayed the same at the half, 32-24, and grew to 47-37 at the end of three.

“After the first quarter we played right with them,” said Kennedy. “We just have to find a way to come out and start by shooting the ball better.”

McNeese forward Divine Tanks ended with a game-high 16 rebounds. The Barbe product had 15 the game before.

The 57 points was the lowest scoring output by the Cowgirls on the young season.