UL-Lafayette coach Garry Brodhead wary of return to spacious Dome _lowres

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- University of Louisiana at Lafayette Coach Garry Brodhead talks with player Adrienne Prejean (14) on the sideline during a women's NCAA basketball game against the University of California at Santa Barbara Tuesday, December 15, 2015, at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La.

LAFAYETTE — Now that Garry Brodhead has seen some consistency from the Louisiana-Lafayette women’s basketball team through a 7-2 start, their next project during the final days of 2015 is to become more unpredictable.

“Coming back after Christmas, we are going to be able to spend a little more time on defending ball screens and defending different kinds of screens,” Brodhead said. “It will make us a little more unpredictable on how we guard.”

A 79-62 loss to Louisiana Tech on Saturday pointed out a few necessary details within the implementation of those plans.

“I think it helped us to realize that if we are going to put something in (to our gameplan), we have to spend a little more time on it with this group rather than just drawing it up,” Brodhead said.

The loss in Ruston featured some individual learning moments, as well. Starting guards Kia Wilridge and Jaylyn Gordon each picked up a pair of fouls within the first five minutes. Gordon later fouled out with 17 points, and Wilridge finished with four fouls.

“If you are going to reach (defensively), even if you don’t foul when you reach, it makes it look like a foul,” Brodhead said. “To me, it’s perfect. It’s what we have been preaching in practice. Quit reaching. Get your hands out in the passing lanes and let’s do our defense — position defense. It helps to reiterate that if you are on the road, you are going to have to be more disciplined on defense.”

Freshmen Breionne Cooper and Jordan Alexander combined to play 31 minutes against the Lady Techsters. Alexander made a couple of 3-pointers. Cooper had a couple of rebounds. Seeing them work in various defensive situations was a tool for the coaching staff heading into a Dec. 29 game against Alcorn State before the Cajuns’ return to Sun Belt play.

“It’s a work in progress with them,” Brodhead said. “There are some things they are going to be really good at, eventually. They are athletic enough to guard on the perimeter and guard inside. One of the things they are working on right now is positioning and being able to front the post.”

Getting road ready

The Cajuns already have one road win in conference play to their credit — a 71-52 victory at ULM on Dec. 3. After they host Appalachian State to open the new year, the next four conference contests will be on the road.

“It’s a shame we will be going on the road against the two toughest opponents we are probably going to see in the conference (UALR and Arkansas State), but I’d rather have those two games at home to hopefully get in a rhythm before we go on the road,” Brodhead said.

The meaningful minutes

Brodhead labeled the new year as Week 1 of the season with the Alcorn State game serving as a lead-in to the remaining 19 conference games.

“I’m telling all of them the playing time is there,” Brodhead said. “That is what they want. I’m anxious to see who is going to work hard in practice, be evaluated and say, ‘Hey coach. I can be a big part of it. Put me in.’ I’m excited because I think I’m going to see some of that from everybody. If we do that, we have grown and gotten better.”