Cowgirls remain perfect in Southland play with win over SLU

Cowgirls remain perfect in Southland play with win over SLU

HAMMOND—McNeese women’s basketball used balanced scoring here tonight in its 80-72 road win against Southeastern Louisiana to improve to 4-0 in Southland Conference play.

For the second game in a row, McNeese (4-7, 4-0 SLC) had four players score in double figures despite being without its leading scorer and rebound in Divine Tanks for the second straight game.

“What a tremendous team win by these young ladies,” said head coach Kacie Cryer. “To come into Hammond and compete with toughness like we did tonight is unbelievable. As a staff, we couldn’t be prouder. We continue to have players step up and just get it done.”

Sophomore Kyla Hamilton and junior Le’Shenae Stubblefield both recorded career highs with 25 and 22 points, respectively. Lizzy Ratcliff tied her season-high with 14 points and Claralee Richard pitched in with 12 points.

Four Cowgirls pulled down at least five rebounds apiece and were led by Hamilton and Whitney Johnson, who led all players with eight apiece on the night. The eight by Hamilton ties her career-high and the eight by Johnson is her career-high. Richard tied her career-high with seven boards and Shaela Gardner picked up a career-high six.

Southeastern Louisiana (3-5, 2-3 SLC) scored the opening basket of the game but the Cowgirls responded with a run to take as much as a five-point lead with just over three minutes to play in the first quarter. The Lady Lions tied the game at 18 apiece and McNeese would score the final four points of the quarter to take a 22-18 lead and one they would give up.

McNeese used a 12-0 scoring run that started in the first quarter and opened the second quarter by scoring the first 10 points to take a 30-18 lead, its first double-figure lead of the game. The Cowgirls put together another scoring run in the quarter to extend their lead to 16 points (40-24) on a Stubblefield layup with 4:22 left in the quarter. McNeese held a 46-34 halftime lead behind a 58.3 field goal percent including a 75 three-point field goal percentage in the quarter.

The Cowgirls held their largest lead of 19 points (58-39) in the third quarter with 4:16 left following two free throws by Hamilton. SE La. ended the quarter on a 14-4 run to cut the Cowgirl lead to nine (62-53).

“We are getting it done with our defense, hustle, and team ball. We have allowed our defense to lead to our offense and tonight we put the ball in the hole. I thought we hit some big shots when Southeastern went on runs.”

McNeese stayed poised in the fourth quarter and get its lead back up to 15 points following a Hamilton jumper with 3:09 to play. McNeese used the free-throw line to its advantage, especially late in the game, scoring its final seven points from the charity stripe.

McNeese ended the game making 34 of 32 attempts from the free-throw line while SE La. was 23 of 39. The Cowgirls were on the plus side in rebounds, outrebounding the Lady Lions 45-41.

Southeastern La. had three players reach double figures with Cierra Cunningham leading SE La. with 18 points.

GAME NOTES

•- The 4-0 conference start is the best since the 2011-12 season when the Cowgirls won their first six conference games.

•- Four Cowgirls scored in double figures for the second straight game (Kyla Hamilton 25, Le’Shenae Stubblefield (22), Lizzy Ratcliff (14), Claralee Richard (12).

•- The 25 points for Hamilton and the 22 by Stubblefield are career highs

•- It’s the second straight game, Stubblefield betters her career-high and it’s her second straight 20- point game. She scored 20 points in the win at UNO

•- Lizzy Ratcliff tied her season-high with 14 points

•- Hamilton also tied her career-high with eight rebounds

•- Whitney Johnson pulled down a career-high eight rebounds

•- Claralee Richard tied her career-high with seven rebounds

•- Shaela Gardner picked up a career-high six rebounds

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