Ragin’ Cajuns women go looking for win at Louisiana Tech _lowres

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- The University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Keke Veal (24) drives to the basket against the University of California at Santa Barbara in a women's NCAA basketball game Tuesday, December 15, 2015, at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La.

LAFAYETTE — Energized by a 7-1 start, the UL-Lafayette women’s basketball team will look to balance efficiency and enthusiasm after a ride to Ruston.

A meeting with Louisiana Tech at 6 p.m. Saturday has Ragin’ Cajuns coach Garry Brodhead ready to see the sights associated with the Lady Techsters program.

“It’s a great place to play and I love going there,” Brodhead said of the Thomas Assembly Center. “It’s a very good arena. It’s a tradition — and to go back and hopefully play well, it would be great for our program. It’s always a recruiting battle. I don’t know who is the best team in the state right now. It might make a statement, especially on the road.”

The Cajuns have already picked up a pair of road wins over Ole Miss and ULM in addition to neutral-site victories in Puerto Rico over Arkansas and Sacred Heart.

The plan for the upperclassmen is to have their formula work whether they are in Ruston or in the Cajundome.

“We play our ball,” said junior guard Jaylyn Gordon. “It doesn’t change. We just play our ball.”

That has enabled the Cajuns to lead the Sun Belt Conference in scoring margin; they have outscored opponents by 19 points per game (69.6-50.6). Gordon, Keke Veal and Kia Wilridge are all averaging just over 14 points. The Lady Techsters feature a pair of double-figure scorers in 6-foot-2 forward Brandi Wingate (17.3) and guard Brooke Pumroy, a transfer from Marquette who averages 10.1 points and is the team leader in 3-pointers made with 16.

The Lady Techsters have been toughened by dealing with the likes of UCLA, Arizona and Mississippi State through nine games.

“Wingate is tough,” Brodhead said. “She is 6-2 and she can play anywhere on the floor. We like the challenge. She can score from 15 feet out or put the ball on the floor. She is a really good athlete and a great scorer. It will be tough to shut her down. Hopefully, we can slow her down.”

For freshmen such as Jordan Alexander and Breionne Cooper, helping to beat UC-Santa Barbara in the Cajuns’ most recent win meant dealing with 6-3 Je Zhe Newton and 6-2 Kali Jones.

Facing Wingate will be another step.

“Anytime we can put those young freshmen in those situations, they are going to learn,” Brodhead said. “We are still a work in progress.”

The next progress report comes Saturday against a program that has never lost to the Ragin’ Cajuns in Ruston.

“We have an opportunity to get a win,” Brodhead said. “There is nothing easy in this game. The kids really like playing somebody that has more tradition than us. We are always trying to continue to prove ourselves and get better. We know we are not there yet.”