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McNeese State's Jayln Johnson drives the ball down court. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

McNeese State's Jayln Johnson drives the ball down court. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Cowgirls look to keep streak up

Last Modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:25 PM

By Albert Burford / American Press

The McNeese State women’s basketball team will get a change of scenery while staying at home as they take on Nicholls State at 5:30 p.m. at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

It will be the first of three games at the Civic Center in a 12-day span for the Cowgirls (11-6, 4-2 in the Southland Conference).

McNeese’s busy schedule will get a bit of a break as after tonight the Cowgirls won’t play until a week from Thursday Texas A&M- Corpus Christi. They will follow that up two days later against Houston Baptist. Both of those will be at the Civic Center as well.

“The kids enjoy it,” said McNeese coach Brooks Donald Williams of playing in the Civic Center. “They get to play a lot of basketball and we’ve certainly enjoyed being at home during this tight stint that we have with so many games in a row. We’re excited about our fans being able to see us at the Lake Charles Civic Center and just looking forward to playing again.”

The Cowgirls have a chance to win three games in a row for the second time this season after they topped Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech and Southern (New Orleans) in December.

Nicholls (8-9, 3-3) visits Lake Charles with just one win in its last four games, but two of those losses came by a combined six points.

The Southland’s top two scorers will be on display, with McNeese’s Allison Baggett, averaging 18.2 points per game, and Nicholls’ Emani White, averaging 18.6 points per game.

“Nicholls is good. We have a lot of respect for their players and what they do,” Donald Williams said. “When they’re hot, they’re extremely hot. They can shoot the three and they’ve got several guards that can nail it from deep, deep three.

“We’re looking for a huge challenge. They’re always tough. Their coaching staff does a tremendous job and their players play with a lot of toughness. We’ve had a lot of battles in the past and we’re expecting it to be tough again.”

Donald Williams said the prospect of playing at the Civic Center adds some excitement for the six freshmen on the team.

“I have a lot of new faces, so it’ll be the first time some of them have stepped on the court when we get there for warm-ups tomorrow,” she said. “It’s always been a great venue to us and I know our fans enjoy it too.”

It’s just a little bit different atmosphere and environment.”

The Colonels were picked to finish third, one spot ahead of McNeese in the Southland preseason polls.

Donald Williams said White, KK Babin and Jenny Nash often run the show for Nicholls.

“We all know what KK can do. She’s capable of big things,” Donald Williams said. “She’s a special guard and has been a tough player all through high school and certainly at the collegiate level.

“Jenny Nash is a big key for them too. She’s a quiet player, but she just gets it done. She gets extremely hot for them and is a big difference-maker. There are a lot of things that aren’t on a scouting report, she just makes big plays for them.”

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