Cowgirls off to 3-0 SLC start, Stubblefield scores 20

Special to the American Press

NEW ORLEANS — Le’Shenae Stubblefield picked up the scoring slack for shorthanded McNeese State, scoring a game-high 20 points in the Cowgirls’ 67-61 victory over New Orleans Saturday.

The Cowgirls (3-7, 3-0 Southland), who snapped a 23-game road losing streak, are off to their best conference start since winning their first six in the 2011-12 season. It’s also the Cowgirls’ first three-game winning streak since the 2018-19 season.

The Cowgirls were without leading scorer Divine Tanks and leading rebounder Whitney Johnson, both of whom missed the game due to COVID-19 protocols. The Cowgirls were also without the services of Elizabeth Critton, who is sidelined with an undisclosed injury.

“I’m so proud of our ladies,” said Cowgirls head coach Kacie Cryer, who team beat UNO for the first time in nine meetings. “What a tremendous team win. The toughness, team chemistry, and defense they are playing has been the difference. They are locked in to do whatever it takes on both ends.

“UNO is a well-coached, tough team and we knew we would have to play tough to match them and we did. It’s a very hard place to win and our ladies executed the game plan and defended to get it done. As a staff, we can’t be any prouder of them.”

Stubblefield, a 5-foot-7 junior guard, took advantage of her second start of the season. She reached her career high in the first half with 13 points.

Stubblefield led four Cowgirls in double-figure scoring. Mychala Linzy and Kyla Hamilton scored 14 points apiece. Shaela Gardner added 13 points. Hamilton had a team-high seven rebounds.

“A huge part of today was Nae Nae,” Cryer said of Stubblefield. “She was huge and just getting it done on both sides of the floor. She was getting steals, playing good defense and doing whatever it took to help the team today.”

Stubblefield was also credited with six steals, another career high for her to go along with four rebounds and two assists.

McNeese trailed 16-13 after the first quarter but outscored UNO 23-12 in the second quarter to take a 36-28 halftime lead.

McNeese maintained its lead in the second half, but the Privateers (3-5, 0-2) began to cut into the lead late in the third quarter, getting as close at three points in the final minute of the third quarter.

McNeese stayed composed and never gave up the lead, twice increasing its lead to nine points in the fourth quarter.

UNO cut the lead to 63-61 with 13 seconds left following a 3-pointer, but McNeese scored its final four points of the game from the free throw line to seal the win.

The Cowgirls made 27 of 33 free throws (81.8 percent). Stubblefield was nearly perfect, connecting on 10 of 11. Linzy made 9 of 10.

Mary Delgado led UNO with 12 points, followed by Dionjhae Thomas and Jada Duncantell with 11 apiece. It was the first home loss in four games for the Privateers, who lost their second in a row.McNeese Cowboys

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