Cowgirls crush Centenary in non-conference game

By By Alex Hickey / American Press

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.