BOONE, N.C. — UL-Lafayette’s guard Keke Veal scored a game-high 27 points to move into third place on Cajuns’ all-time scoring list, but it wasn’t enough in a 76-59 loss to Appalachian State on Thursday.
The Cajuns (16-5, 9-3 SBC) fell to 4-2 in conference road games this season. Guard Kia Wilridge added 13 points, five assists and a steal.
“I thought we had a slow start at the beginning of the game,” Cajuns coach Garry Brodhead said. “We started pressing on defense in the second half and causing some turnovers to cut it to three. We couldn’t quite finish, but we played hard and made it a ballgame. We just ran out of time.”
In the first quarter, Louisiana led by as many as four points (8-4) with just under four minutes left. A 9-4 scoring run by the Mountaineers to close out the quarter provided Appalachian State with a 13-12 advantage going into the second stanza.
The Cajuns took their final lead of the game at the 8:40 mark of the second quarter following a jumper by Veal to make it 14-13.
Appalachian State created an 18-14 lead with 6:30 to go and never relinquished the advantage for the remainder of the game.
Leading by as many as 12 points in the third, Appalachian State saw the Cajuns cut into its lead on an 11-2 scoring surge, making it a 36-33. Veal scored the final seven points of the scoring streak to make it a one-possession contest.
Trailing 39-35 with 4:22 left, Veal came up with a steal and drew a foul. She made both free throw attempts to bring the Cajuns to within 39-37 with 4:13 left in the third quarter.
UL-Lafayette failed to draw any closer as Appalachian State held off the charge for the final four-plus minutes of the third to take a 45-39 lead into the last 10 minutes of the game.
After Wilridge sank a pair of free throws to begin the fourth quarter, closing the gap to 45-41, the Mountaineers scored five straight points on a layup and three free throws.
The Appalachian State lead never dipped below 10 points for the remainder of the contest, denying the Cajuns of a three-game win streak.
The loss evened the all-time series with the Mountaineers to 2-2.
The Cajuns return to action on Feb. 11 against Arkansas State at home. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. at the Cajundome.