Cold first quarter costs Cowgirls in loss to ULL

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Despite having four players finish in double-figures scoring, the McNeese women’s basketball team could not overcome a poor-shooting first quarter as the Cowgirls lost to visiting UL-Lafayette 70-59 on Sunday afternoon at the Burton Coliseum.

The Cowgirls actually outscored ULL in the second half 39-35, but a 3-for-20 first quarter shooting and a long scoring drought ultimately did the Cowgirls in.

“It’s been two games in a row where we really struggled to put the ball in the hole early,” Cowgirl head coach Kacie Cryer said. “But the more comfortable these kids are getting, then you started to see the ball go in.

“I was just proud they never gave up. They kept battling. And this group is going to continue to get better each time we take the floor.”

In the first quarter, ULL outscored McNeese 17-8. After a Damilola Balogun basket with six seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Cowgirls did not score for another 5:34 of game time. A Divine Tanks layup with 4:32 left in the second quarter ended McNeese’s drought.

Once Tanks scored, McNeese (0-2) started to play much better. ULL went up by as much as 20 in the second quarter, but the Cowgirls chipped away and went into halftime down 35-20.

McNeese picked up where it left off coming out the locker room, cutting the Ragin’ Cajuns lead to single-digits at 39-30 with 4:23 left in the third quarter. Freshman guard Callie Maddox was a big part of McNeese cutting ULL’s lead. Maddox was cold shooting from the field, but she was on from the free throw line, where she hit 10-of-12 in the game. She finished the game with a team-high 16 points and also added five rebounds.

“My shots just weren’t falling in the first half at all,” Maddox said. “And then, the second half, I just had to make them foul me. Thankfully I was making my free throws.”

Whenever the Cowgirls got close, ULL (1-1) would pull away mostly because of Ty’Reona Doucet. The sophomore guard dominated for the Cajuns with a game-high 29 points and 22 rebounds. ULL managed to push their lead back to 51-35 at the end of the third quarter.

“We’re coming off of a game where we out-rebounded Grambling,” Cryer said. “So rebounding for us, we’re going to continue to get better.

“A lot of them came from the backside rebounds where we either didn’t drop backside and box out or two of us went to close out and the rebound went long. We’re just going to continue to work on it and get better in practice.”

The Cajuns pushed their lead back to 19 multiple times in the fourth quarter, but McNeese never went away. With just over a minute left, a Regan Bolton layup put the Cowgirls down 65-57. But the deficit was too much to overcome. ULL hit their free throws and got out with the win.

Despite the loss, Cryer feels encouraged at the effort.

“Our kids are real positive,” Cryer said. “And our kids know how good we can be when it all clicks at one time.

“I told the kids it’s just about being consistent. I told them, ‘I didn’t make it easy for you because it’s not going to be easy in the Southland Conference,’ These games are preparing us for what we’re going to see in our league.”

Up next for the Cowgirls is a trip to Austin to play Texas on Nov. 15.

ULL 70 | Cowgirls 59

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