McNeese State's Cecilia Okoye shoots over Centenary's Vashni Sharp-Moore during the Cowgirls' 90-33 win Tuesday night at Burton Coliseum. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 10:24 PM
For Tuesday night, at least, not having Ashlyn Baggett on the floor didn’t pose any problem for McNeese State.
The program’s No. 3 all-time scorer sat on the bench in sweats for the Cowgirls’ 90-33 dismantling of Division III Centenary. She suffered a deep thigh bruise near the end of regulation in Friday’s 68-59 overtime loss at Southern Miss.
“You don’t ever want a kid to be out, but it was a great learning experience to play without someone who is so important to our team like Ashlyn,” said coach Brooks Donald Williams. “She is our go-to defender. I was really more worried about the defensive end than the offensive end, sometimes that can be a major problem. I’m proud of the kids. They did a good job stepping up.”
Donald Williams expects Baggett to be back for Saturday’s game at Rice.
A variety of Cowgirls picked up the scoring slack with Baggett relegated to an observation/assistant coach role.
Freshman Jayln Johnson led the way with 18 points, while former Jennings High teammate Shalyn Riley also had a career best with 16 points.
“A redshirt freshman coming off an injury at a new position, it’s going to take her a while to get going,” Donald Williams said of Riley. “We’ve been real patient with Shalyn. She’s a kid that has a little something about her. She’s got grit and a lot of savvy to her game. We’re anxious for her to get all that back.”
Riley, who entered the game averaging 2.4 points per game as a starter, said it was nice to finally have things come together.
“Coming from a post to a guard, you have to be quick and be smart,” Riley said. “I’m staying positive. It all happens so quickly (in college.) This is a good boost.”
Allison Baggett poured in 17 while getting the occasional piece of advice from her injured older sister.
“She was Coach Ashlyn tonight. She was helping out, keeping our heads together,” Allison said. “She was just reminding me ‘Fix it’ for any little mistake. All the little details.”
Baggett said that both her older sisters are much gentler at dispensing advice to her than with one another. Allison gets a reassuring pat when something goes wrong, while twins Ashlyn and Caitlyn will stare lasers at each other and mutter something unkind in similar scenarios.
“To each other they know what they did wrong, and they snap,” Allison said. “To me, they explain it a little bit nicer. They know I’m a little less experienced so they try to help me out.”
Forward Cecilia Okoye made a big contribution off the bench in the second half with 16 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the field.
McNeese outscored Centenary 52-2 in the paint and 41-4 on points off turnovers. The Cowgirls scored their most points in a game since a 100-50 win over Texas College in 2010. The 57-point margin of victory was McNeese’s largest since beating Paul Quinn by 61 in 2009.