LAFAYETTE — Jordan Alexander’s first 10 regular-season days as a freshman basketball player for Louisiana-Lafayette featured some anxiety and a few overwhelming moments, but a focus on fundamentals and seeing the future has kept her on the court at the end of games.
Alexander’s 3-pointer from the corner and two later free throws in the closing seconds helped secure a season-opening 82-78 win over Ole Miss.
“I wouldn’t say I was nervous. I was just anxious to play that game,” Alexander said. “I haven’t had a full crowd (before), so it was kind of overwhelming sometimes. But I just had to keep my head in the game.”
Alexander has not been a high-volume shooter for the Cajuns (2-1) through three games. She is 4-of-7 and has made both of her long distance attempts. However, when charges are taken and loose balls are captured, those are a couple of areas where Alexander has made a mark.
“That’s the thing that impresses me about her on the offensive side and defensive side: She anticipates and reacts really well,” Cajuns coach Garry Brodhead said. “She is also very fundamental, too. All those qualities are hard to find in a freshman.”
Alexander developed many of those traits in her hometown of Dallas. Playing at Skyline High School and for DFW Elite Basketball gave her a foundation before she came to the Cajuns.
“At Skyline, we practiced hard, and we had high expectations,” Alexander said. “Our coach (Cassandra McCurdy) was always on us about how hard college was going to be. My coach made it a priority to make our practices similar to college.”
When opposing teams try to throw some curveballs at the Ragin’ Cajuns and raise the pressure defensively, Alexander’s ability to see over smaller defenders and pass the ball are a couple of pluses in her favor.
“When somebody is pressing us, she surprises me with the decisions she makes and that gives us another option on breaking the press,” Brodhead said. “That helps our offense.”
When the Cajuns’ junior and senior guards Jaylyn Gordon, Keke Veal and Kia Wilridge want to run following a missed shot, Alexander has seen the value of picking up the pace in those fast break situations.
“It’s a plus for this team,” Alexander said. “Everybody can run and get transition buckets.”
While Alexander’s schooling in Dallas gave her a head start on picking up some aspects of the college game, Brodhead and assistant coaches saw that, too, during the recruiting process.
“I think the difference was we saw Jordan’s potential early,” Brodhead said. “Some bigger schools came in late. ... She is a loyal person, and it comes from her mom.”
Even though Alexander has handled the first college challenges, there are at least a couple of areas where she sees room for improvement.
“I’m not used to this defense, so I’m trying to be in the right places,” she said. “And I need to work on ball-handling.”
There is also an upcoming first trip to Puerto Rico for the Texan when the Cajuns play in the San Juan Shootout.
“We took some out of state trips (from Dallas), but nothing that far,” Alexander said. “So it’s going to be a good experience for me.”