LAFAYETTE — A high degree of difficulty did not deter Louisiana-Lafayette guard Jaylyn Gordon on Thursday night.
Gordon scored 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting to help boost the Ragin’ Cajuns’ women’s basketball team to a 77-69 win over Xavier in an exhibition game at the Cajundome.
“We love those kind of players that can get to the rim and kind of hang in the air and get the ball away from the defense,” Cajuns coach Garry Brodhead said. “Jay struggled the last couple of years missing a lot of those shots. Tonight, it really fell for her. That is the most comfortable I have seen her.
“She did some things tonight that I hadn’t even seen (before) — a couple of passes that she skipped. She avoided a couple of charges and made the bucket. She stepped up her game.”
The Cajuns outscored the Gold Nuggets 32-23 in the third quarter to turn a five-point halftime lead to a 61-49 advantage at the end of three quarters. An 18-of-20 effort from the free-throw line provided a big chunk of that scoring.
“It was a free-throw shooting contest, which took us out of the flow of the game some defensively, but 26 of 31 on free throws (overall) is really good for us,” Brodhead said.
The Cajuns struggled to find an offensive rhythm through the first quarter. They made one of their first 12 field-goal attempts before Gordon closed down the opening period with a pair of 3-pointers. The second 3-pointer came from about 27 feet away at the buzzer to put the Cajuns on top 10-8.
The Cajuns gradually built an eight-point cushion. Brooklyn Arceneaux started the run with a layup and Gordon finished it with 6:55 left in the first half when she scored on a drive.
When Gordon banked in a scoop shot with just under 4 minutes left, that gave her 12 of the Cajuns’ 24 points as they grabbed a 24-15 lead.
Kia Wilridge finished with 17 points and nine rebounds for the Cajuns. Arceneaux, who missed last season with injury, was 4 of 6 and chipped in nine points. “Brooklyn is a scorer, so people have to guard her and it opens looks for everybody else. When Brooklyn drives, it gives me some shots that I like.”
Cajuns sign five
The Cajuns announced five new signees Thursday: point guard Jasmine Thomas (North Caddo High), guard Danyale Baylonne (Pineville High), forward Brittney Myles (Fair Park High) and guard/forward Kimberly Burton (Red River High) and Austin, Texas, native Troi Swain, a guard.
“The recruiting class we are bringing in is not only a group of talented athletes, but quality young ladies and student-athletes that will fit into our system,” Brodhead said. “They are quick, and are defensively and offensively minded players.”
We are bringing in some size with Myles, and the other four fit perfectly with what we will lose from our senior class this upcoming season.”
Thomas (5-foot-7) is a four-year starter, averaging 20 points, five assists, and three rebounds per game for the two-time, defending state champion (2014, 2015), Thomas was the 2015 Class 2A state MVP.
Bayonne (5-9) averaged 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals per game and is a two-time Class 5A All-State player.
Myles (6-3) is a two-year starter, averaging of 12 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks per game. Myles was an honorable mention selection for the Class 4A All-State.
Burton (5-11) was honorable mention on the Class 2A All-State team.
Swain, a sophomore transfer at Trinity Valley who began her collegiate career at UT Rio Grande Valley, left her mark at McNeil High as the second all-time leading scorer in school history. She holds 12 school records.
“All five of these kids fill our needs for the future of our program,” Brodhead said. “I think all of them have had great high school and AAU careers. We have been able to watch these kids over the years, and we know this is one of the best signing classes since we have been here.
“Our goal is always to upgrade with each signing class, and signing Louisiana kids is also something we feel is important to continue in building our program.”
A university news release contributed to this report.