Almost all of the freshman class made their collegiate debut Friday night in McNeese's 83-61 women's basketball season opening win over Louisiana College at Burton Coliseum.
"Tonight was a great start," said head coach Brooks Donald Williams. "The girls played hard and had really good energy as a whole. I thought our guards did a great job of limiting their looks from the three, which was a big key for the game."
As the freshman were getting a taste of college basketball, junior Allison Baggett picked up where she left off last season to lead McNeese with 19 points and three steals. Baggett was 8 of 20 from the field and connected on one three-pointer. Sophomore Haily Jenkins returned to the court after missing several games late last season and chipped in 12 points. All of Jenkins' points came from behind the arc where she canned four of seven three-pointers.
Freshman Frederica Haywood made an impact on the boards, leading the Cowgirls with seven rebounds with six coming on the defensive end. Senior Talisa Boyd ended the game with six rebounds and nine points and freshman Ann Nwosah scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds.
Louisiana College held a two-point lead midway in the first half but a layup by freshman Jasmyn Carswell tied the game at 12-all. Jenkins gave the Cowgirls a three-point lead and one the Cowgirls wouldn't give up with a trey with 11:27 left in the half.
McNeese held its first double digit lead with 38 seconds left in the half off two free throws from junior Jayln Johnson and the Cowgirls held a 44-34 halftime lead.
The Cowgirls used many combinations of players in the second half but held a double-digit lead for the majority of the half. McNeese held its largest lead of the game (26 points) after freshman Jerica Bolinscored her first two career points on a layup with 1:26 to play.
"We were able to play a lot of kids and put in different combinations throughout the game," said Williams. "We have young players who got minutes on the court tonight."
Louisiana College was led by Danisha Allison's double-double (21 points, 13 rebounds). Kacie Willis added 14 points and Skyler Chenevert chipped in 10.
McNeese (1-0) will host Tulane at 2 p.m. Sunday in the second of four straight home games for the Cowgirls. Fans who bring their McNeese-Southeastern La. football ticket stub will be admitted free.