Last Modified: Saturday, November 09, 2013 4:26 PM
It turns out it is possible to win with just one Baggett in your lineup.
Sophomore Allison Baggett scored a career-high 31 points to lead McNeese State past NAIA Wiley College, 88-69, in the Cowgirls’ season opener Friday night at Burton Coliseum.
Last season marked the first time the youngest Baggett played on the same floor with twin sisters Ashlyn and Caitlyn, but it was also her first time playing on a team in a supporting role.
She looked comfortable in her return to leading lady for the first time since high school, hitting 9 of 20 from the field and 12 of 16 at the free-throw line.
“It was totally different from last year,” Allison said. “I wasn’t the go-to. It was Ash and Cait. It felt great to step back into it. I was ready for it. My teammates did a great job spacing the floor giving me opportunities to score and giving them opportunities to score.”
It was not as if Baggett didn’t get plenty of help.
Point guard Jayln Johnson and forward Cecilia Okoye each recorded double-doubles. Johnson has 15 points and 10 assists, and Okoye finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Johnson played all 40 minutes.
“For Jayln to play 40 minutes in her first college game as a starter against a tough defensive team, she was really, really tough,” said Cowgirls head coach Brooks Donald Williams. “And she did some good things defensively that she didn’t do last year.”
Another key contributor was center NeTanya Jones, who had nine points and 10 rebounds. Jones would have been credited with a handful of assists in hockey, finding Johnson in transition before Johnson would hit Baggett or someone else under the bucket for the score.
“NeTanya really played well last season in the WBI,” Donald Williams said. “She’s gotten better every day. We feel uncomfortable when she’s not on the floor. She’s such a presence. She helps contain penetration, and she rebounds very well and it turns into transition points.”
As one would expect from a team playing five underclassmen on opening night, there were moments of less-than-perfect execution.