UL head women's coach Garry Brodhead said he felt a special connection with Kobe Bryant because of the impact their daughter's love of basketball had on both.

The two exhibition experiences were very different.

In the first one, the UL women’s basketball team topped Mississippi College 73-65 with four key performers sitting it out.

In the second game, coach Garry Brodhead’s Cajuns got two of those contributors back and UL rolled 85-48 over Spring Hill College.

Brodhead is hoping for more of the same when the Cajuns up the regular season with at 6 p.m. Thursday against Loyola of New Orleans in the Cajundome.

“It changed on Friday having everybody there,” Brodhead said. “It was a big difference. You could see the talent level was at a plus. The rotation was a lot easier. We were able to press a little bit more. I think we ended up with nine turnovers.

“That’s pretty good for us early season. We’re able to help our defense. I thought we defended very well. We held them to 48 points. It was an overall good test to see where we’re at. I know the kids felt more confidence.”

Loyola enters the game 2-0 after two wins over the Virgin Islands. The Wolfpack were 26-7 a year ago.

“Very, very guard-oriented,” Brodhead said. “They can shoot the 3. It’ll be a challenge to make sure we can cover-out. A lot of times we play hybrids and they have to go out and guard the guards. So it’ll be something new we have to work on.”

Unfortunately, concerns still exist. For instance, Ty’Reona Doucet, who is still nursing a groin injury, didn’t play.

‘We need to do a little better job of managing her than we did last year,” Brodhead said. “We just played her and the groin injury led into a stress fracture. This year, we definitely don’t want that to happen, so that’s a concern.”

Also, junior point guard Jasmine Thomas is still limited.

“Even with Jasmine and getting her in playing condition, we’d love her to play 20 minutes,” Brodhead said. “Our goal is to get her healthy enough to give us a productive 20 minutes. We’re not far off and I think she can get even better.”

In the last game, four Cajuns reached double figures and the team hit 10 of 21 3-pointers.

Diamond Morrison led the way with 12 points behind 2-of-4 shooting behind the arc, and Makayla Hallmon also scored 12.

Brandi Williams returned to score 10, as did Jazmyn Womack.

“She’s been playing the two,” Brodhead said of Morrison. “If she can continue to shoot the ball like she did Friday night, that would be big. Last year, she shot almost 50 percent from the 3.

“That’s what we’re hoping for, and she can defend as well. Hopefully, her role can become more of a scorer like Brandi and continue to defend like she has.”

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