Trojans best ULM, fall at Louisiana

Louisiana vs. Troy in Women's Basketball Saturday Feb. 11, 2017 at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La. Photo by Brad Kemp/RaginCajuns.com
Louisiana vs. Troy in Women's Basketball Saturday Feb. 11, 2017 at the Cajundome in Lafayette, La. Photo by Brad Kemp/RaginCajuns.com
Despite scoring a team-high 16 points, senior Caitlyn Ramirez and the Trojans fell at Louisiana, putting Troy in a tie for second place with UT-Arlington in the latest conference standings.
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Scott Watkins

Staff Writer

The Troy women’s basketball team split its two road games in the state of Louisiana last weekend, beating Louisiana-Monroe before falling to Louisiana.

The Trojans’ 94-67 win against Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday marked the most points scored by Troy in a conference game since March of last year when it defeated Arkansas State 96-89.

Troy jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the first quarter following back-to-back jumpers from senior Lauren Day. Monroe’s Alexis Collins then scored 11 points to bring the Warhawks to within four by the end of the quarter.

With the score 19-15 to begin the second period, Troy pushed the lead to double digits after a three-pointer by Ta’Kierra Gibbs put the Trojans up by 12. The Warhawks didn’t pull within single digits for the remainder of the night.

Troy went into halftime with a 43-29 lead before blowing the game wide open in the third quarter. The Trojans opened the quarter with a 19-3 run. Senior Claresa Banks netted eight points during the run, including a pair of threes. After opening a 33-point lead, Troy rode its hot shooting to a 78-52 lead heading into the final quarter.

Troy maintained its lead throughout the fourth quarter and left Monroe with a 94-67 victory and its ninth conference victory of the season. The Trojans had five different players score in double figures for the third time this season.

“I thought our first eight players got into a really good rhythm, especially on defensive rotations,” Head Coach Chanda Rigby said. “It was also really good to get all 15 players time on the court.”

Two days later, Troy dropped its second matchup of the road trip 80-72 against Louisiana. The Rajin’ Cajuns were red hot as the team shot 61.7 percent from the field, the highest of any Sun Belt team this season.

The two teams started the game by trading baskets until midway through the first quarter when Louisiana forward Simone Fields pushed the Cajuns to an 18-14 lead at the end of the quarter. Fields scored 10 points in the quarter and finished the game with 24 points and a perfect 10-10 from the field.

Troy junior Amanda Mendoza hit a three early in the second quarter to give the Trojans a short-lived lead before Louisiana responded with a 13-4 run. Troy held on for the rest of the quarter, never falling behind by more than eight.

With the score at 38-31 heading into the second half, the two squads began trading shots again before Louisiana finished the quarter with a 10-2 run that gave the Cajuns a 57-46 lead at the end of the third.

Louisiana pushed its lead up to 16 in the fourth quarter until the Trojans put together a late comeback effort. Ramirez scored six points in the final 34 seconds to bring the Trojans within eight, but it was too little too late for the visitors. Ramirez finished the game with 16 points and nine rebounds.

The weekend ended with the Trojans tied for second in the conference with Texas-Arlington with six games left, including one against Arlington and one against conference leader Little Rock.

Troy returns to the comforts of home with a game Thursday night against Appalachian State before hosting Coastal Carolina on Saturday.