Garry Brodhead enjoys seeing his squad do the dirty work on defense that has enabled the University of Louisiana at Lafayette women’s basketball team to allow an average of 55.5 points.
When the Cajuns face Southwestern Athletic Conference member Jackson State at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Cajundome, he would also be thrilled to see a clean effort on the offensive end.
“Jackson State is coming back from the break the same way we are,” Brodhead said. “You don’t know how clean the game will be as far as turnovers and shooting.”
The Cajuns (7-1) do have the familiar surroundings of home court. They are also coming off a 64-57 overtime win over Alcorn State in which sophomore guard Jaylyn Gordon scored 22 points and was 11-of-12 on free throws.
“Jaylyn took the ball to the goal and shot well from the outside,” Brodhead said. “After she had a concussion (in early November), she struggled to get back to being more confident in her shot. With a lot of shooters, it’s about confidence and being comfortable.”
Jackson State brings a 3-7 record, which includes a 52-44 overtime loss at LSU and a 62-61 overtime win against Southland Conference member Northwestern State. Jackson State already has played overtime three times. Forward Ayanna Hardy-Fuller is the Tigers’ lone double-figure scorer at 13.6 points a game. She also is the team’s leading rebounder (8.1).
“It gives our kids a good opponent to play,” Brodhead said. “(The Tigers) are athletic, and they get up and down the floor kind of like our conference opponents. They are extending their defense a little more (than last year).”
One defensive key to limiting Hardy-Fuller on the interior will happen on the perimeter.
“We have to stop their dribble penetration,” Brodhead said. “Their high-low offense is very effective. If they catch it in the post, it can be a problem. Post defense starts with pressuring the ball (on the perimeter). There is a weakness to every defense. You have to decide what to give up.”
Ideally, Brodhead would like for his guard trio of Gordon, Kia Wilridge and Keke Veal to create problems for opposing offenses. Both Gordon and Veal have missed time because of injuries. Wilridge fought through foul trouble against Alcorn State. Wilridge ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference in steals with 25.
“They feed off each other; I like that lineup,” Brodhead said.
After the Cajuns encountered stretches in their nonconference schedule when they played one game a week, the final tuneup before Sun Belt play begins Tuesday will be part of settling back into a heavier on-court schedule.
“You get in that rhythm of playing on Thursday and Saturday,” Brodhead said. “Right now, there is no school, so we can work on things with kids individually and work on team stuff. You can really improve for the rest of the season.”