LAKE CHARLES – Sophomore Caitlin Davis flirted with a triple-double on Saturday with 13 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds as she helped guide the McNeese Cowgirls to a 69-47 Southland Conference win over Southeastern Louisiana and sweeping the regular season series.
It was the first game back in Burton Coliseum for the Cowgirls since January 10.
The win as the third in the last four games for McNeese as it improved to 11-12 overall and 7-5 in league play while SLU fell to 6-18 and 5-8.
After a competitive first half that saw the Lions lead 30-29 at the break, the Cowgirls dominated the second half by outscoring SLU 40-17, including a 20-6 advantage in the fourth quarter.
"Today was going to be a tough game for us because Southeastern has been playing well, but we've been able to take care of the games we should be taking care of and today was no different" head coach Kaycie Cryer is now 3-0 against the Lions.
The first five minutes would be uneventful for both teams, with 18 missed shots between the two teams. Dede Sheppard and Mercedes Rogers would work to give the Cowgirls a 6-3 lead with five minutes left in the first quarter.
The Lions would sink back-to-back baskets to give Southeastern a one-point lead, just before Regan Bolton would let off a long three to help McNeese regain the lead with a slim 9-8 advantage over SLU.
The Cowgirls would take the last shot but nearly miss the basket, McNeese would end the first quarter trailing 16-13. After ten minutes of play, neither teams were shooting better than 30% from the field.
Bolton would sink another three with 7:10 on the clock in the second quarter, tying the game for the second time at 18-18.
Multiple turnovers by the Cowgirls would allow the Lions to pull ahead 27-24, before Rogers added a three to her stat sheet and tied the game again at 27 a piece.
At halftime, McNeese trailed 30-29, Sheppard was leading the team with eight points and five rebounds.
"We came out in the second half and picked up our defensive intensity, started to attack more and be more aggressive on the court. That's what we're all about defensive intensity" Cryer said.
Davis finished the first 20 minutes with only two points, but her seven assists made her responsible for 17 of the Cowgirls 30 first-half points.
The second half of play started off well for McNeese, with Sheppard letting off two consecutive threes from the wing to give the Cowgirls a five-point, 37-32 lead with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
With 3:50 on the clock, Hudnall sank a three off the assist from Davis to put the Cowgirls up 44-36, the eight-point lead was the largest of the contest for either team, so far.
McNeese continued to dominate the glass, giving them the chance to pull ahead. Bolton added yet another three to the stat sheet, putting the Cowgirls ahead by ten with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.
The third quarter would end with McNeese up on Southeastern, 49-41. At this point, the Cowgirls defense has held the Lions to a dingy 28.6% from the field, giving up only 14 baskets in 49 shot attempts.
With 8:12 on the clock, the Cowgirls had extended their lead to a hefty 17 points, after putting up ten unanswered points in a run that began in the final second of the third quarter.
The Lions posted four points off a jumper and two free-throws, but the Cowgirls closed out the contest with fire, picking up where they left off and going out on a 21-4 run.
Four Cowgirls finished the day in the double-digits, Sheppard led the team with 16, Davis with 13, followed by Bolton and Rogers who had 11 and 10 respectively. Rogers pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
The Cowgirls heavily out-assisted the Lions, with 20 on the stat sheet compared to Southeastern's seven.
McNeese advances to 11-12 on the season and 7-5 in Southland Conference play. The Cowgirls will host Central Arkansas on Wednesday at 6:30 for their annual Play4Kay game.
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