LAFAYETTE — Cajuns coach Garry Brodhead has frequently said that when players are not making shots, they have to find other ways to contribute to a win.
That way turned out to be winning the turnover battle.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette women’s basketball team forced 28 turnovers on the way to a 56-47 comeback win over Stetson in the quarterfinal round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational on Saturday at Earl K. Long Gym.
“We shot 17 percent in the first half, and we were down seven points,” Brodhead said. “We should have been down 20. I’m very pleased with our defense in the second half. It’s confidence and belief in our system.”
That helped the Cajuns hang around and shoot 48 percent in the second half, when they outscored Stetson 37-21.
“We were not scoring, and that made it hard to get into something that we are used to (applying defensive pressure),” Cajuns guard Kia Wilridge said.
The Cajuns struggled to find consistent shooting in the opening 20 minutes as a 6-for-34 effort from the field contributed to Stetson heading to intermission with a 26-19 advantage.
That included the Cajuns misfiring on their first 15 shot attempts in the opening quarter before Brooklyn Arceneaux ended that drought with 41 seconds remaining when she converted a layup after a Cajuns offensive rebound.
UL-Lafayette finished the quarter 1-of-18, and Stetson had built a 14-4 cushion.
Junior guard Sylvana Okde got the Cajuns off to a better start in the second stanza by draining a 3-pointer 25 seconds into the quarter that cut Stetson’s lead to 14-7. That bucket was one of Okde’s three 3-ponters in the second quarter that helped the Cajuns stay within striking distance of the Hatters. Stetson pushed the lead back to 22-12 before the Cajuns responded with seven straight points that came on an Okde 3-pointer, a Kia Wilridge 3-point play and a free throw by freshman center Breionne Cooper.
Keke Veal led the Cajuns (23-10) with 17 points. Okde finished with 12.
The Cajuns will face Youngstown State in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Cajundome. The Penguins defeated UMBC 67-48 in a semifinal Saturday.