MONROE, La. - The ULM women's basketball team survived a late Louisiana-Lafayette full-court press and scoring run to earn a 68-61 Sun Belt Conference victory on Saturday afternoon inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
The Warhawks saw their 13-point lead slip to just three with under a minute to play, after the Ragin' Cajuns full-court press defense that began with five minutes remaining in the game. Their pressure ultimately forced ULM into six-consecutive turnovers and without a field goal for three minutes.
With the game in the balance, Priscilla Mbiandja saved the Warhawks once again at the charity stripe. The junior guard sank a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line in the final 36 seconds to extend the ULM lead back to double-digits.
Jesse Carrier paced ULM (9-13, 3-9) with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting, while Sannisha Williams finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. Mbiandja and Elizabeth Torres concluded the contest with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Torres also dished out a game-high five assists.
UL-Lafayette's (8-14, 3-7) Alexis Green led all scorers with 25 points, including four 3-pointers, while also grabbing a game-high eight rebounds. Mercedes Johnson and Jasmine Barnes finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Ragin' Cajuns.
Louisiana-Lafayette jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, five points from Green, before ULM responded with a 12-2 scoring run. During the Warhawks run five different players scored, including a Carrier 3-pointer.
Over the next nine minutes ULM gradually built its lead to as many as 10 points, 32-22, with 1:32 remaining in the opening period. The Warhawks ultimately took a 32-23 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
In the opening 20 minutes ULM forced Louisiana-Lafayette into 11 turnovers and owned an 11-4 advantage in scoring off turnovers. Mbiandja led all scorers at the break with nine points, while Johnson scored eight points for the Ragin' Cajuns.
After a Carrier jumped to open the second half, Louisiana-Lafayette scored 10-straight points to cut its deficit to 34-33 with 16:33 to play in the contest. Green led the scoring run for the Ragin' Cajuns with six-straight points, including a triple.
The Warhawks responded with a scoring run, 10-2, of their own over a 4:22 span to increase their lead back to double-figures. Williams scored four of ULM's points during the run on a pair of layups to give the Warhawks a 50-37 lead.
Overall, ULM shot 12-of-23 (52.2 percent) from the field and 11-of-16 at the foul line in the second half.
ULM will host Western Kentucky on Wednesday at 7 p.m. inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum. The Sun Belt Conference game will be part of the WBCA Pink Zone initiative in the fight against breast cancer.