LAFAYETTE — Within its efforts to force Alayshia Hunter to work hard Tuesday, the Louisiana-Lafayette women’s basketball team also will look to limit any long-distance damage from other sources.
Hunter comes into Tuesday’s 5 p.m. Sun Belt Conference contest at the Cajundome between the Ragin’ Cajuns women and Louisiana-Monroe as a known commodity for the Warhawks. The senior forward from Killeen, Texas, is the Warhawks’ leading scorer at 17.3 points per game and their second-leading rebounder at 7.5.
The wild card might be what happens on offensive plays not involving Hunter.
“We know Hunter is their main scorer and, when they have an inside presence like Hunter, you definitely pray that they don’t get the outside scoring going,” Cajuns assistant coach Deacon Jones said. “They shot 16 3s against Texas State this last go-around. So it’s not that they are not trying to shoot outside shots. It’s more or less that they are hoping a few more go in.”
The Warhawks made five of their attempts in a 63-59 win Saturday. Hunter finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Cajuns had success tracking the 3-point shooters of Texas-Arlington: UL-Lafayette held the Mavericks to three 3-pointers (in eight attempts) in Saturday’s 63-52 win.
The top outside threat for the Warhawks in both 3-pointers made and attempted is sophomore guard Chelsea Tieuel, who has made 36 of 104 from beyond the arc.
“(Tieuel) can go off at any time,” Jones said. “With Jodi Quinn and Kia (Wilridge) playing a lot of minutes now, our defensive pressure on the outside is going to be really key.”
That pressure helped the Cajuns force 25 turnovers Saturday. Keke Veal had five steals against the Mavericks, and Wilridge added four.
Veal continues to be the scoring leader for the Cajuns at 14.9 points per game. Veal and junior Taylor Washington teamed up for 40 points in the UTA win. Sophomore Simone Fields added 10 to help open things up outside the paint a bit for the guards.
“You’ve got to know where Simone Fields is on the offensive side,” Jones said. “It helps Keke, Kia and Taylor for shooters like that when you have an inside presence. (Fields) made eight free throws, which was huge, because somebody on that front line got in foul trouble. So she created more opportunities for us some kind of way.”
Tuesday’s contest marks the end of a five-game homestand for the Cajuns that has seen them go 3-1 so far. Head coach Garry Brodhead said the game is another opportunity for the Cajuns to build momentum before they visit Appalachian State on Thursday.
“We have to keep building from UT-Arlington,” Brodhead said, “just focus on what we can do and never have a letdown in conference games.”