Cajuns Pull Away Late From ASU

LAFAYETTE, La. – The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team had three notch double figures with a team-high 18 points from Keke Veal to help the Cajuns pull away from Arkansas State in the final minutes for a 69-57 victory Thursday at the Cajundome.

Following a layup by Arkansas State's Jasmine Hunt to make it 58-52 with three minutes to play, the Cajuns were able to prevent a Red Wolves comeback. Adrienne Prejean recorded an offensive board and a putback before a Kia Wilridge layup made it 62-52 with 2:28 to play.

A-State (12-7, 7-2 SBC) managed to only get back within eight points the remainder of the contest as the Cajuns answered every Red Wolves basket.

Wilridge joined Veal in double figures with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists for her 14th double-digit scoring outing of the season. Robbie Brown finished with 12 points, shooting 3-of-4 from long range, for her fifth double-figure performance in the last seven games.

"Offensively, I thought we were more patient," said head coach Garry Brodhead. "We've really been working hard on penetrating and getting in the middle of the lane. When they went to their zone, we were able to get to the backside. It was a complete effort. We talked about before the game how we needed to play together. We don't have that one kid that can score 20 or 30. We need everybody to contribute."

Jasmine Hunt led the Red Wolves with 20 points and nine boards while Hanna Qedan totaled 13 points and eight boards. The Cajuns held the Sun Belt scoring leader, Aundrea Gamble (20.3 ppg), to 2-of-11 shooting for four points while forcing six turnovers off the SBC Preseason Player of the Year.

"We did a really good job of defending from beginning to the end," Brodhead said. "Gamble's averaging 20 points a game and she gets four. That was our plan to see if we could limit her touches and slow her down."

Louisiana (12-5, 4-4 SBC) grabbed an 8-2 advantage out of the gate behind four points from Veal and Wilridge. A jumper by Brittney Gill and a three-pointer from Qedan knotted the contest at 10-all before Brown connected for her first trey of the game to help the Cajuns regain the lead at 13-10 with 12:53 to play in the half.

Louisiana stretched its lead to 17-10 before a 10-4 spurt by A-State cut its deficit to 21-20 with 8:33 remaining in the half. The teams traded baskets over the next several minutes before Brown hit a triple with 29 seconds left before halftime to give the Cajuns a 36-33 lead at the break.

Neither team was able to produce much offense to begin the second half as the teams combined for just 11 points in the first 7:17.

With the game knotted at 42 midway through the period, four-straight points by Wilridge gave the Cajuns some momentum. Gordon knocked down her first three-pointer of the contest for a 49-44 advantage before a layup by Brown matched the Cajuns' largest lead of the game up until that point at 51-44.

Hunt made it a 55-50 game with 4:51 to play after two free throws but Louisiana was too tough down the stretch to pull out the win.

For the seventh-straight game and 12th time this season, the Cajuns forced its opponent to at least 20 turnovers with the Red Wolves committing 20 for the game. Louisiana capitalized off the A-State miscues, recording a 29-5 edge in points off turnovers.

A-State shot 45.3 percent (24-of-53) while the Cajuns were 42.6 percent (26-of-61) shooting.

Louisiana will begin a three-game road swing Saturday when the Cajuns travel to Georgia State for an ESPN3 game at 11 a.m. (CT) in Atlanta.

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