Trojans get past Cajuns

Published 3:00 am Friday, February 26, 2016

The Troy women’s basketball team nearly gave up a fourth quarter lead, but excellent shooting down the stretch propelled them to a 90-83 victory over UL-Lafayette in Trojan Arena on Thursday.

The Trojans (14-12, 9-8 Sun Belt) were led by junior guard Ar’Jae Saunders, who posted 21 points and five rebounds in a victory over the Sun Belt’s third-ranked team. Balanced scoring in the final few minutes from Troy was more than the Ragin’ Cajuns (18-8, 11-6 Sun Belt) could handle, as the Trojans had four players scoring in double figures.

A talented UL-Lafayette team took an early lead, going up 16-12 midway through the first quarter. Sixteen first half points from Saunders helped Troy bounce back, however, contributing to a 16-4 run to give her team a lead that they would hold for the majority of the game.

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Troy maintained an up-tempo offense to compliment a disruptive zone defense to build on their lead, eventually going up 47-36 by halftime.

The second half was a different story, however, as the Ragin’ Cajuns found their offensive rhythm. Senior guard Keke Veal was a force on the court for UL-Lafayette, putting up an impressive 34 points and helping the visitors take a two point lead with 8:34 left in the fourth quarter.

The visitors tied the game four separate times in the final period, and at the 3:07 mark of the fourth quarter, the Cajuns owned a 71-74 lead.

When it looked as though they would suffer the tough home loss, the Trojans hit all six of their final shots down the stretch, closing out the game on a 19-9 run to steal the victory.

“This was an important win for us, in that it was a close win,” head coach Chanda Rigby said after the game. “Last game we won a close one in overtime at Appalachian State, and this was one was important because we were down by two and fought back and were calm enough to make the plays to win. That shows a lot of growth as a team.”

The Trojan women will stay at home for their next game against UL-Monroe on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.