LAFAYETTE — Some transitions turned out to be tough territory for the Ragin’ Cajuns on Thursday night.
In a game where both teams shot under 30 percent, one area defensively stuck out to UL-Lafayette women’s basketball coach Garry Brodhead following the Cajuns’ 46-42 loss to Texas State at the Cajundome.
“This was the worst defensive transition I have ever seen since we were here our first year (as a coaching staff),” Brodhead said. “Sometimes they were coming down and they were pitching. We are usually closing out on people and we weren’t even 20 feet away from the shooter.”
The Bobcats managed to make seven 3-pointers, and that provided enough of an offensive boost to enable the visitors to secure a comeback win.
The Cajuns (14-4, 7-2 in the Sun Belt) had a 39-33 advantage with 3:17 left thanks to a fast break jumper by Brooklyn Arceneaux that kissed off the glass and gave the Cajuns that cushion. However, the Bobcats responded with two free throws by guard Ayriel Anderson, a layup from Ericka May and a 3-pointer courtesy of Raven Burns. That Burns effort gave the Bobcats their first lead of the game at 40-39 with 2:13 remaining.
The Cajuns later evened the score at 41 on a layup by Kia Wilridge with 43 seconds left, but Arceneaux was called for a foul on the ensuing possession that put Anderson at the line. She canned both free throws. Keke Veal made 1-of-2 from the line to keep the Bobcats up one before Texas State widened the gap to 44-42 on another free throw.
A scramble for a loose ball during the next Cajuns possession ended up with the Cajuns trying to call timeout when they had none left. The Bobcats scored another point on a free throw from a resulting technical foul.
“We were ready mentally, but we need to get together as a team and re-focus,” Sylvana Okde said.
The game was the first for the Cajuns without junior guard Jaylyn Gordon, who is suspended indefinitely for a team rules violation. “I’m disappointed in the fact that we can think all this is going to change because of one spot we don’t have,” Brodhead said. “That is ridiculous to me.”
Okde, who entered the game averaging 3.2 minutes in nine games played, logged 20 minutes against the Bobcats. That included a 2-for-8 tally from 3-point range and three rebounds. Okde also had some ballhandling duties at the top of the key in a point guard role along with Wilridge when Veal was in foul trouble.
“Some of the stuff we run, we allow the point guard to stay at the top, but we want to move it to the baseline,” Brodhead said. “With Keke being in foul trouble, we used Silk (Okde) in that position in the first half. I thought she did a pretty good job.”
Simone Fields finished with eight points for the Cajuns, but overall, Brodhead said the post play was inefficient from both the perimeter and interior viewpoint. “I thought we were going to score more from inside, but I didn’t think we did a good job of getting them the ball and also working hard enough to get open,” Brodhead said. “That’s something we have to work on.”
Wilridge had 10 points for the Cajuns. She made all six of her free throws and was 2-for-13 on field goals. Anderson finished with a game-high 16 points for Texas State (10-8, 5-3).
The Cajuns will continue their homestand with a 2 p.m. contest Saturday against Texas Arlington.