It wasn’t the offensive performance that UL’s women’s basketball team had shown in its two exhibition games, but the Ragin’ Cajuns won’t complain about their defensive performance.
The Cajuns used a stifling defense, forcing 21 turnovers from Loyola-New Orleans on Thursday, in rolling to a 67-51 victory in their regular-season opener.
UL, coming off a 7-23 season, shot 42 percent from the floor and hit on half (8 of 16) of its 3-point shots, but Cajuns coach Garry Brodhead pointed to his team’s efforts on the other end of the floor.
“We have kids that are a little bit tougher this year,” said Brodhead, whose team drew six offensive fouls and had 11 steals. “Some of the freshmen kids have to quit fouling — they’re not used to getting all those hand-check calls against them — but the returnees did a great job. We lost some games last year when we didn’t do those little things that we did tonight.”
The Cajuns were boosted by the return of point guard Jasmine Thomas and forward Kim Burton, both of whom missed the entire 2018-19 season with medical conditions. Thomas had five points, two assists and two steals in 19 minutes and Burton finished with six points, three rebounds and two assists.
“You can tell the difference when they’re out there,” Brodhead said. “Jasmine and Kim give us such great leadership. They missed it so much not playing last year, and you can tell that they’re hungry.”
Baton Rouge junior Skyler Goodwin, who was also limited for part of last season with injuries, had 12 points and sophomore Andrea Cournoyer had 11 to pace the Cajuns, who had all 13 of their available players seeing action. UL’s bench outscored Loyola 34-3.
Kalia Anthony had 22 points as the only double-figure scorer for the Wolf Pack (2-1), who hit only 34.6 percent from the field (18 for 52).
The teams were tied 8-8 in an ugly offensive first quarter before the Cajuns went on a 10-0 run midway through the second period on the way to a 32-23 halftime lead. That advantage reached as high as 19 points on Brandi Williams’ free throw midway through the third quarter that provided a 45-26 lead, and the Wolf Pack never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way.