UL coach Garry Brodhead knows what his record says.
Officially, the Ragin’ Cajuns are 2-5 overall and 1-1 in Sun Belt play after splitting a pair at Texas State last weekend.
His goals, though, remain extremely high, despite hitting the road against to begin another road league series at 6:30 p.m. against Little Rock on Friday.
“If we can split and maybe get a sweep every now and then on the road, but win every game at home, I think that would put us in pretty good position,” Brodhead said.
It certainly would, but the toughest of all road challenges may be this weekend in Little Rock.
The Trojans are 5-4 overall and 1-1 in league play. Two of their losses were to Arkansas and Texas A&M, as well as to Rice (66-54), which also beat UL 83-51.
“He (coach Joe Foley) finds a way to win and he doesn’t change it. He’s not going to press. He’s going to hard-hedge all of our ball screens. He’s going to be in help. His defensive team is what creates all those wins for him.
“They have a quicker point guard. He made a statement it’s the fastest point guard he’s ever had, so that’s kind of scary. She’s a little bit on the smaller side.”
While Little Rock essentially played the same game twice – first beating UTA 57-56 and then losing the rematch 59-54 – UL’s two games were very different. The Cajuns lost 71-63 in the opener, before handling Texas State 67-41 in the second game.
Applying fullcourt pressure in the rematch is what did the trick for UL.
“UTA was able to kind of press them, which is what we’re trying to do,” Brodhead said. “Hopefully we can get them to turn it over a little bit and make their point guard play a little too fast.”
UL’s first weekend was highlighted by Brandi Williams with a pair of 18-point performances.
“It helps when you have somebody going 4 for 6 from the three,” Brodhead said. “She got a lot of open looks in transition, so that was pretty big for us.”
Perhaps the biggest new development was the play Saturday of junior guard Destiny McAfee, who took very well to fullcourt pressure with 15 points.
In that defense, Ty’Reona Doucet is on the ball because “she’s long and she makes those passes to where they kind of have to get it over her,” but Doucet missed both games at Texas State with an “upper body injury.”
Doucet is expected back this weekend, but McAfee flourishes in that role.
“She’s the fastest kid that I’ve seen in a long time,” Brodhead said. “She can jump and she’s good on the ball.
“That was a big plus for us. We had been kind of waiting for her. I had been seeing it in practice, but we just hadn’t had it in a game yet from here. I think the light bulb kind of went off. We have to put her in when we’re pressing and probably put her on the ball.”
Sophomore transfer and former Lafayette Christian standout Bre’yelle Porter also saw some action at Texas State with good results.
“Bre’ did a really good job in the second game,” Brodhead said. “She started to kind of feel a little more comfortable.
“On Saturday, I thought she helped a lot. She did a pretty good job in the post. At the high post, she did a good job of passing and getting the ball to people.”
Despite the slow start to the season record-wise, Brodhead isn’t even close to panicking. He wasn’t the least bit surprised how convincing Saturday’s road win was.
“Our team, sometimes we play better with our backs against the wall,” he said. “I guess it’s the culture we have over the nine years. I haven’t had a team that really gives us. I think that’s a big part of what we’re about.
“I think the 10 days kind of hurt us a little bit. But after we got on the bike and starting riding (again), we felt a little more comfortable.”