LAFAYETTE — Outside of an early regular-season game against Southern-New Orleans last fall, the Louisiana-Lafayette women’s basketball team has not played at Earl K. Long Gym since it won the Women’s Basketball Invitational championship last season.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (22-10) hope to rekindle some of those good memories at 7 p.m. Saturday when they host Stetson (20-11) at Earl K. Long for the second round of this year’s WBI tournament.
“Our kids play well there,” coach Garry Brodhead said. “We practice in it for the most part, and for them it’ll kind of bring back memories of last year.”
The Cajuns are coming off a dominant performance in the WBI’s opening round against Northwestern State. They held the Lady Demons’ leading scorer without a point as their pressure defense suffocated Northwestern State, forcing 21 turnovers in a 69-54 win.
Brodhead said Stetson runs a similar offense to Northwestern, but the Hatters pose a different problem because of their athleticism.
“They’re not the 3-point shooting team that Northwestern was; they’re more penetrators and jump shooters, just extremely athletic,” Brodhead said. “We love to press and create some havoc, and our kids are so good at it. I think this game it’ll be a little bit tougher because they’ve got some quicker kids. We’ll have some challenges, but it’s kind of what we do.”
Stetson lit up McNeese State in an 89-54 opening-round win, shooting 64.9 percent from the field as six players scored in double figures.
Guard Brianti Sanders leads the Hatters at 18.1 points per game. She scored 20 points against McNeese and has a 40-point game to her credit this season.
Like the Cajuns, Stetson usually plays with a four-guard lineup. But the Hatters also have 6-foot-3 forward Sarah Sagerer to present matchup problems against a small Cajuns lineup.
The Cajuns have won nine straight games in Earl K. Long dating to January 2013. They’re hopeful to make it 10 straight before heading back to the Cajundome for the third round.
“The seniors are going to cherish this, I think,” Brodhead said. “Hopefully it’s our last one in Earl K. Long (before) we go back to the Dome next week to try to finish off if we are successful.”