With the good feelings of a 4-0 start in their back pockets, the Louisiana-Lafayette women’s basketball team’s return to the grind will include a guard-heavy challenge.
The Cajuns will confront Southland Conference member Sam Houston State (1-5) at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Cajundome. The two teams faced each other last season in Huntsville, Texas, with the Bearkats getting an 83-73 victory.
“They have always had quick guards and a good inside-out game,” Cajuns’ coach Garry Brodhead said. “Now they are more guard oriented. The Robertson kid (Shernise Robertson) can shoot threes. They try to dribble drive and pitch it out. They make you guard them and guard everybody on the floor.”
Robertson is the top scorer for the Bearkats through six games — at 16 points a game. She has made 9-of-24 from 3-point range. Guards Taylor Dorsey and Amanda Barnes are the next two top scorers for Sam Houston. They have teamed up to average 18.9 points per game.
Guards Jaylyn Gordon, Keke Veal and Kia Wilridge are all averaging double figures for the Cajuns. Gordon has contributed 17 points a game, while Veal has chipped in 13.5 and Wilridge 13.
That production has helped give the Cajuns a chance at their first 5-0 start since they opened the 1983-84 season 6-0. “When we were coming off that win over Louisiana Tech, our kids saw some results and that helped us to work hard in practice,” Brodhead said “It’s pleasant for the coaches — seeing the kids grind — and they are seeing results.”
One area where Brodhead would like to see his squad squeeze out more points is from the free-throw line. The Cajuns have converted 54 free throws in 80 attempts (67.5 percent). “We want more consistency there and we want to take care of the ball,” Brodhead said.
Brodhead’s main focus with Sam Houston and the quest to stay unbeaten is slowing the Bearkat offense. “On our side, we want to play up tempo and control the tempo,” he said.
One challenge has been maintaining that consistency within a schedule that has largely featured one game a week lately. “With only nine non-conference games, we had to space them out,” Brodhead said. “It’s more about the way we play right now than our opponent. The schedule has given us some time, but you don’t want to over-prepare. We’ll see if we can handle it this week.”