LAFAYETTE — When the Louisiana-Lafayette women’s basketball team forced Arkansas State to switch to Plan B, the Red Wolves’ search for secondary scoring came up short.
The Ragin’ Cajuns held the Sun Belt Conference’s leading scorer, Aundrea Gamble, to four points on a 2-for-11 shooting effort in a 69-57 victory by the Cajuns on Thursday night at the Cajundome.
Gamble entered the game averaging 20.3 points. She did not get on the board until she scored off the glass nearly midway through the second half.
“When you average 20 and hold that person to four ... they have good players, but they are different (than Gamble),” Cajuns coach Garry Brodhead said.
Gamble’s initial bucket did even the second-half score at 42-42, but the Cajuns were able to build a seven-point lead in a matter of a few minutes. A lay up from forward Simone Fields put UL-Lafayette on top 53-46 with 6:21 left.
“That worked for us on the drive and drop down (pass) to get some easy points,” said Cajun guard Kia Wilridge, who finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
The Red Wolves got no closer than five points the rest of the way. UL-Lafayette was able to push the lead to 12 a pair of times.
“That was a complete game,” Brodhead said. “Everybody contributed and the kids all bought into it.”
After the Red Wolves opened the game with a bucket, the Cajuns responded with eight straight points in a run that ended with a pair of Wilridge free throws.
Senior Robbie Brown, who came into the contest averaging 5.3 points, gave the Cajuns a boost in the first half by putting up 10 points to help her teammates take a 36-33 lead into the locker room.
“We don’t have that one kid that scores 20 or 30,” Brodhead said. “We told the kids ‘working hard is not fun, but winning is fun.’”
That fun for the Cajuns came on the heels of an overtime loss to ULM on Monday in which a five-point play helped lift the Warhawks to the win.
“We had to redeem ourselves,” Cajuns guard Keke Veal said.
Veal was 8-of-17 from the field as part of her team-high 18-point effort. Brown finished with 12 points. Adrienne Prejean chipped in eight points in 15 minutes for the Cajuns, who improved to 12-5 overall and 4-4 in the Sun Belt Conference. Jasmine Hunt scored 20 points and had nine rebounds for Arkansas State (12-7, 7-2).
“This is big,” Brodhead said. “You want to beat the preseason number one (team). It tells the kids you can compete with anybody in the conference.”
The Cajuns held their own against the second-place team in the SBC partly by forcing 20 turnovers while committing eight.
“When (a team) can’t get the ball inbounds, you get frustrated,” Brodhead said. “When you are able to create 20 turnovers, it gives you a chance.”
Three straight road games will be the next conference challenge for the Cajuns, staring with a Saturday morning meeting in Atlanta with Georgia State at 11 a.m.