Cecilia Okoye gets fouled by Brandi Huff during a layup in the first half of McNeese State University's match against Texas A&M Corpus Christi Thursday night at Burton Coliseum. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, January 17, 2014 11:25 AMMcNeese State women’s basketball coach Brooks Donald Williams got just what she wished for on her birthday — the Cowgirls’ best performance of the season.
The Cowgirls’ emphatic 79-51 win against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Thursday night at Burton Coliseum showed what McNeese is capable of when it’s clicking on all cylinders.
The 51 points were the fewest allowed by McNeese this season.
Four Cowgirls scored in double digits, while all 10 McNeese players who saw the court scored at least four points.
“This was our biggest team win by far,” said guard Allison Baggett. “We were all focused on what we had to do and we did a great job playing together.”
The Cowgirls (10-6, 3-2 Southland) also held Jasmine Shaw, who was scoring 17.5 points per game entering Thursday, to four points.
“Defensively, we did a lot of good things,” Donald Williams said. “We locked in to their best player and held her 13 points below her average. Hannah Cupit and Allison Baggett did a great job coming in and out for each other. We did a great job as a team of guarding her. We just took them out of what they do and that’s what you want defensively.”
It was a stark contrast from McNeese’s 72-58 loss at Lamar Saturday, when Donald Williams said she was concerned about the effort put forth, especially by the younger players.
Freshman guard Hailey Jenkins has been sidelined since the New Orleans game on Jan. 4 and is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday on a torn ligament in her left foot, Donald Williams said.
Jenkins’ injury opened the door for Cupit, a Sulphur product who had played 13 minutes prior to Thursday’s game. Cupit stepped in and proved her worth to the tune of 11 points, including a trio of 3-pointers in 19 minutes of play against the Islanders (8-8, 1-4).
“We worked really hard this week and just came back with way more effort,” Cupit said. “We got the win and played together, so it was fun.”
Donald Williams said she’d been anticipating a breakout performance from Cupit.
“We’ve been patiently waiting for Hannah,” she said. “We knew the transition for her defensively from high school to college was going to be tough like it is for all freshmen, but we had a feeling that after Christmas it was going to be time to give Hannah some looks. She gives effort every day. We just made a decision as a coaching staff to give her an opportunity and the kids got fired up about it. They love her and got on her back.”
It was the Cowgirls’ first game in a stretch of five home games, their longest homestand of the season.
The Cowgirls were in control from the tip-off, jumping out to a 7-2 lead and holding their advantage for the entire game. The Cowgirls used a 24-9 run to stretch the lead out and had a firm grasp with a 44-25 lead at half.
The Cowgirls hit 10 3-pointers and finished shooting 46.8 percent from the field.