McNeese women’s basketball team ended a 13 game losing streak in games played against Louisiana Tech in Ruston Tuesday night with a 74-71 win in the Cowgirls’ final game before the Christmas break.
“I’m really proud of our girls,” said head coach Brooks Donald Williams. “I though our first half was fantastic, we played with a lot of defensive effort and execution. We knew they would come back in the second half with adjustments and fire in the second half. We didn’t adjust but I will say, we did tough it out and I’m really proud of the girls,” said Williams.
McNeese (8-4) got offensive production from nine of 10 players that saw the court. Senior Jayln Johnson was one of five Cowgirls to score in double figures as she led with 13 points. Frederica Haywood had 11 while Allison Baggett who moved into fourth place in McNeese scoring ended the game with 10 points. Baggett moves up on the list behind Pat Jean, Ashlyn Baggett and Caitlyn Baggett. Amber Donnes and Hannah Cupit also scored 10 points. The 10 points by Cupit is her career high.
McNeese opened the game with intensity on both ends of the court and jumped out to an eight point lead in the first quarter and held a 20-14 lead after the first. The Cowgirls continued to build on their lead and outscored the Lady Techsters 24-9 to hold their largest lead of the game at the half with a 44-23 score.
Louisiana Tech (5-6) came out in the third and fourth quarters with a much higher intensity than in the previous two quarters and caused the Cowgirls problems. La. Tech opened the third quarter up on a 6-0 run before a layup by Haywood. The Cowgirls ended the quarter on a layup by Johnson and two free throws by Mercedes Rogers for a 59-41 lead.
A 16-4 run by La. Tech in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter cut the Cowgirl lead to eight (61-53). A McNeese turnover on their next possession resulted in a La. Tech layup to cut the lead to six. After La. Tech cut the lead to four points, Victoria Rachal nailed a three-pointer to bring the lead back to seven. La. Tech responded with a layup but so did the Cowgirls as Rachal scored again for another seven point lead with 4:07 to play.
With 2:51 to play and the Cowgirls leading 68-63, La. Tech scored the next three points to cut the lead to two. McNeese responded with three free throws from Donnes and Johnson to give McNeese a 71-66 lead with 1:01 left to play. La. Tech would tie the game following a layup by Ashley Santos and a three-pointer by Kierra Davenport with 14 seconds to play. On the next Cowgirl possession, Johnson was fouled and made both for a 73-71 Cowgirl lead. Santos missed a jumper with .05 to play and Haywood grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Haywood made one of two to seal the win for McNeese.
The Cowgirls will take a break for the Christmas Holiday and will return to action on Jan. 2 to begin Southland Conference play at Stephen F. Austin.