The Louisiana women's basketball team closed out the first half hitting 5-of-6 three-pointers to open up a double-digit halftime lead, then held on for a 58-48 Sun Belt Conference victory over Georgia Southern on Saturday afternoon at Hanner Fieldhouse.
The win was the third straight league road win for the Ragin' Cajuns (13-11, 8-4 SBC), while Georgia Southern saw its two-game home winning streak come to a close. The Eagles (5-19, 2-11 SBC) will be next in action on Saturday, February 17, hosting Georgia State in a Southern vs. State Rivalry Series contest at 2 p.m.
The Eagles and Ragin' Cajuns both started slow from the field as Louisiana took an 11-4 lead in the contest at the end of the first quarter. Georgia Southern cut the lead to two, 11-9, by scoring the first five points of the second quarter. With the score 13-11 midway through the second, Louisiana's Jasmine Thomas hit a three-pointer that sparked a 15-6 run to send the game to the break with the Ragin' Cajuns up by 11, 28-17. After starting the game 0-for-9 from beyond the arc, Louisiana finished the half hitting 5-of-6 threes.
In the second half, back to back three-pointers from Amira Atwater and Nakol Franks cut the Louisiana lead to six, 32-26, with 2:44 left in the third quarter. The Ragin' Cajuns responded with four straight points to end the quarter and take back their double-digit lead, 36-26, heading to the fourth. The Eagles would get to within four, 40-36, with 3:06 left in the contest, but a layup by Simone Fields, quickly followed by a three-pointer by Thomas and a three-point play by Ty'Reonne Doucet in under a minute would push the Ragin' Cajuns lead back to double digits and close out the win.
"I thought were were solid defensively all day," Georgia Southern Head Coach Kip Drown said. "Except for the last four minutes of the second quarter, where we gave up four threes in the final four minutes. They only hit one three the rest of the game.
"We did a really great job of containing the dribble, keeping the dribble out on the perimeter," Drown said. "I thought we had a great defensive effort. But it's the same song, different verse. We didn't shoot the ball very well today."
Hailey Dias-Allen led the Eagles offensively with 10 points, while Alexis Foulks corralled a career-high 15 rebounds, the most in a single game by a Georgia Southern player since Danielle Spencer had 17 rebounds at Jacksonville on Nov. 24, 2013. Louisiana placed three players in double figures, led by 15 points from Thomas, 14 points from Troi Swain and 12 points off the bench from Fields.
Georgia Southern shot just 25 percent from the field in the contest (15-of-60) while making just 5-of-27 shots from beyond the arc (18.5 percent). The Eagles were 13-of-18 from the free throw line (72.2 percent). Louisiana finished the contest shooting 36.5 percent from the floor (19-of-52) and just 6-of-24 from three-point range (25 percent), while making 14-of-19 free throws for 73.7 percent.