LAKE CHARLES-- If defense wins championships, then the chances of McNeese State's women's basketball team repeating as Southland Conference Champions looks good after its 58-45 Southland Conference win over Lamar here Wednesday night.
"We did a tremendous job on defense tonight, especially on Kalis Loyd, their leading scorer and rebounder. The most important thing is we know defense wins games even though we don't particularly shoot the ball well," said head coach Brooks Donald Williams.
Not only did the Cowgirls hold Loyd to one point but no Lamar player scored in double figures. McNeese also forced Lamar into 20 turnovers. The Cowgirls improved to 12-4 overall and 2-0 in conference play while Lamar fell to 8-8 overall and 0-2 in conference play.
McNeese's Caitlyn Bagget led all scorers with 17 points and dished out five assists. Twin sister, Ashlyn pitched in 14 points and picked up a career high six steals. Seniors Kendra Wells and Martika Hull took care of the boards as Wells led all players and tied her season high with 14 rebounds. Wells grabbed 10 defensive boards and four offensive. Hull grabbed 10 rebounds with seven coming on the offensive end. McNeese outrebounded Lamar 47-34 despite shooting 29.8 percent from the field. The Cowgirls shot 76.9 percent from the free throw line, making 20 of 26.
"My role is to rebound and I take pride in it, said Wells."
Lamar took an early lead off a three-pointer by Carenn Baylor :29 seconds into the game. McNeese came back to tie the game three all on a trey by Caitlyn Baggett then took the lead for good on a three-pointer by Ashlyn Baggett with 16:30 left in the half. McNeese held a 30-19 halftime lead and held as much as a 21 point lead with 5:16 left in the game.
McNeese was reminded of its record breaking season it had last year as the Southland Conference regular season, Southland Conference Tournament and NCAA banners were unveiled after the game.
"It was an unbelievable and special moment to see those banners unveiled. It's great to remember it and enjoy it. It gave us chills but also motivated us to get another one.
McNeese will return home this Saturday to conclude its four game home stand in a 1 p.m. game against Texas State.