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UL-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns guard Troi Swain (10) shoots over UALR Trojans guard Kira Shepard (4) and UALR Trojans guard Monique Townson (2) in the first half Saturday, March 11, 2017, during the Sun Belt Conference women's basketball semifinal at Lakefront Arena.

UL-Lafayette’s women’s basketball squad missed out on a first-round bye in the Sun Belt Conference tournament by a couple of games, but to Ragin’ Cajuns coach Garry Brodhead, that’s a good thing.

“I kind of like slipping in from the back side,” Brodhead said Monday as his club prepares for a first-round game in the league tournament at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. "Everyone’s talking about Little Rock, Troy, Texas State. … I like people not paying much attention to us.”

The Cajuns (15-15, 10-8) are the No. 6 seed and will play Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. finale against No. 11 seed Georgia Southern (5-24, 2-16). A Tuesday win would put them against No. 3 seed Texas-Arlington in a quarterfinal at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

UL-Lafayette entered last year’s tournament as the fifth seed and proceeded to win three games on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, beating fourth-seeded Texas State and top-seeded Little Rock along the way, before falling to third seed Troy in the finals.

“It’s not a physical thing, because it’s so spread out,” Brodhead said. “It’s a mental thing. I think we’ll have an advantage if we get to Thursday because we’ll have a game under our belt. The problem is playing the Saturday-Sunday, that bothered us last year, but early in the tournament I think it’s an advantage.”

Little Rock (20-9, 17-1) is the top seed for the third time in four years, but the Trojans and Cajuns demonstrated on Saturday how close the top eight seeds are entering the 12-team tournament. UL-Lafayette led Little Rock for 30 of the 45 minutes before the Trojans rallied to force overtime in what became a 72-63 win over the Cajuns in the regular-season finale.

The Trojans and the other three top seeds — No. 2 Texas State, UTA and No 4 and defending champion Troy — don’t play until Thursday’s quarterfinal round against Tuesday’s first-round survivors.

The Cajuns beat Georgia Southern 58-48 in Statesboro on Feb. 10 in their only meeting of the season. Jasmine Thomas had 15 points and Troi Swain 14 with both hitting three 3-pointers in that game, and All-Sun Belt third-team selection Simone Fields came off the bench with 12 points and seven rebounds. But Brodhead said the biggest key will be matching his team’s first-game defensive effort, after the Cajuns held the Eagles to 25 percent shooting (15 of 60).

“We were out really covering them,” he said. “Normally against most teams they get a lot of wide-open looks, but we did a good job of getting out high, bodying up and making them try to penetrate. That’s something they’re not used to.”