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One year after a 7-23 campaign, UL women's coach Garry Brodhead has his program contending again early on in the Sun Belt race after last weekend's sweep of the Alabama schools.

A year ago, the UL women’s basketball program struggled through the worst season in coach Garry Brodhead’s seven years on the job at 7-23.

Throughout the process, Brodhead hinted better days were ahead if the team stayed together and learned from the hard times.

On Saturday, Brodhead’s message was heard loud and clear with the 79-73 road win over Troy, which entered the game 12-2 and 3-0.

In his mind, it was the program’s best win since when?

“I think when we beat Little Rock in the (Sun Belt) tournament to go into the tournament finals in 2017,” he said. “I thought that was a big win.

“What made it a big win was because we couldn’t win at Troy. For this team, they needed to see that we could change it.”

It was a huge weekend sweep of the Alabama teams that left UL 10-5 overall and 3-1 in league play, which is good enough for a six-way tie for first place in the Sun Belt.

The biggest factor in the two wins was expert free throw shooting. UL made 15 of 19 tries against South Alabama and then 20 of 24 at Troy.

That’s 81.3%, compared to 46.3% for the opposition.

“With Brandi Williams being one of the top free throw shooters in the country and getting a lot of free throws, I started to reevaluate what we were doing as a team,” Brodhead said.

“I started to look at who was getting the most free throws and it seemed like it was her and Ty (Doucet). With Ty not making them — her percentages were down, maybe 50% — I started to try to focus on the kids that weren’t making them.”

So the policy shifted a little bit.

“I used to make them shoot a 100 or shoot a certain amount, but now it’s make,” Brodhead said. “When you go out after practice, you have to make (100). By tomorrow, they’ll have to make 100 free throws away from practice.

“They’ll text me how many it took to make a 100 free throws. I think that’s been a big plus, because they’re able to work on their own and see them go in and get some confidence.”

In Saturday's win at Troy, Doucet made all nine of her attempts. Against South Alabama, Skyler Goodwin made all seven of hers.

The other big factor against Troy was competing on the boards.

The secret there might have been Brodhead watching pregame warmups, which didn’t produce a lot of made baskets for Troy.

So his pregame instructions reflected that.

“We’ve got to approach this game like every time they’re going to shoot the ball, that they’re going to miss,” Brodhead said. “If we have that attitude that every time the ball is shot that they’re going to miss. I don’t know if that was a factor or not, but we did rebound the ball a lot better.”

Next up for the Cajuns is another road trip — at UTA on Thursday and then Texas State on Saturday.

“It’s nice to have fans excited about what we’re doing now,” Brodhead said. “If we can go on the road and get a couple more wins, this would be a statement that this program is moving forward and the direction it was moving in in (20)15 and 16.”

Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.