LAFAYETTE — A group of golden guests will be waiting for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette women’s basketball team on senior night at the Cajundome.
The University of Arkansas-Little Rock is Trojans (24-4, 17-2) lead the Sun Belt Conference going into Thursday at 5 p.m. game. That type of performance during the past handful of seasons contributed to UALR ‘s Joe Foley receiving conference Coach of the Year honors in both 2010 and 2011.
“Our kids are probably even more amped to play this team than they were for Mississippi State,” Cajuns’ associate head coach Sallie Guillory said. “They know that (the Trojans) are the gold standard in the conference right now. They are similar to the University of Virginia in men’s basketball defensively. They are so good in positioning.”
The Cajuns find themselves positioned as the SBC fifth seed heading into their last two regular-season games, A road trip to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to face second-place Arkansas State is scheduled for Saturday.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to play the number one and number two team and move up in the standings,” Guillory said. “We probably match up better against Arkansas State.”
UALR beat the Cajuns 67-41 on Dec. 30. Cajuns guards Jaylyn Gordon and Kia Wilridge each scored 14 points, but only two other players, Simone Fields and Keke Veal, scored in that game. Shanity James of UALR had 12 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of blocks. The Trojans made 26 of 51 field-goal attempts (51 percent) against a Cajuns squad that allows opponents to shoot 41 percent. The Trojans also had 16 turnovers, keeping them under the 20-or-more mark that the Cajuns have forced in 18 of 26 games this season.
“Their RPI is 38 (as of Monday),” Guillory said. “They have knocked off LSU and Oklahoma. They are talking about an at-large bid (to the NCAA tournament).”
The Cajuns come in at 18-9 and 10-8 in the SBC. Gordon, Keke Veal and Wilridge average roughly 40 of the Cajuns’ 61.7 points per game.
Guard Robbie Brown, the team’s lone senior, will be recognized Thursday. This season, she is second on the team in 3-pointers made with 26. Brown is averaging 7.1 points and has 32 steals.
“Robbie is a consistent, selfless player who plays on both sides of the court,” Guillory said. “You can count on her. She knows her job and she does it well. You have to have kids like that to be successful.”
The Cajuns’ job as a whole will be to fluster a Little Rock team that has rarely hit bumps in the road.
“It was our first conference game (the first UALR game),” Guillory said. “Here we are at our second-to-last conference game. It’s really two different teams. We will try to get after them and hopefully speed up the game that way.”