Cajuns Pull Away Late vs. Gauchos

LAFAYETTE -- The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team extended their win streak to five games, topping visiting UC Santa Barbara, 61-42 in the Education Game at the Cajundome on Tuesday afternoon.

Senior point guard Kia Wilridge established a career high in rebounds with 13, and added a team-best 14 points for the program's first double-double of the 2015-16 season. The Crowley, La., native also added three assists to her stat sheet.

"I thought at times we played very good defense and that's what we predicate ourselves on," Ragin' Cajuns head coach Garry Brodhead said. "We did a good job of rebounding against a taller opponent. For Kia [Wilridge] to get 13 rebounds was big, she works so hard at her game."

The Cajuns never trailed in the game and only allowed UC Santa Barbara to tie the game once at 2-2 just two minutes into the contest.

UL held a 5-4 lead early in the quarter and began a 12-0 scoring surge to move ahead by 13 points. Junior guard Jaylyn Gordon accounted for five of the 12 points during the run and finished with 13.

UC Santa Barbara sliced into the Cajuns lead to make it 20-10 after the first quarter, but Louisiana's defense held the Gauchos to nine points in the second stanza. The Cajuns made just 4-of-14 shots (28.5%) from the floor in the quarter, and held a 30-19 lead at the break.

The freshmen duo of Jordan Alexander and Breionne Cooper made the first three shots for the Cajuns following halftime, pushing Louisiana ahead by 17.

UC Santa Barbara scored nine unanswered points to make it a 36-28 contest with 2:41 remaining in the third quarter.

The Cajuns ended the final 2 ½ minutes on a 6-2 run to bump their lead to a dozen, 42-30.

Sophomore Simone Fields (layup) and Wilridge (three-point play) put the Gauchos in a 47-30 hole in the first 1:04 of the final quarter. The lead never dipped below 14 points for the remainder of the game and reached as many as 24 (61-37) with 2:01 on the game clock.

Louisiana won their eighth non-conference game in their last nine tries and opened the season at 7-1 for the second-consecutive season.

Senior Keke Veal chipped in 12 points off the bench to extend her double-digit points streak to 22 games.

Louisiana brought a balanced attack on both ends of the floor in the victory, shooting 44.6% (25-of-56) from the floor and outrebounding UC Santa Barbara 37-22.

"We have to figure out how to get more scoring on the inside, but overall with the big crowd and having some nerves we played pretty well," Brodhead said. "We controlled the tempo of the game, which is what we always try to do."

The Cajuns face a challenging task with a road matchup coming up at Louisiana Tech this Saturday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m.

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