January 30, 2023

STATESBORO, Ga. – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns women’s basketball team begins Thursday, January 26 in the eastern region of the Sun Belt Conference with a two-game set against Georgia Southern in a contest at 5:00 p.m. CST at the Hanner Fieldhouse in Statesboro, Georgia.

The game, which wraps up the first half of the Sun Belt game, puts two of the teams in a four-way tie for fourth place in the conference standings. The winner will join Thursday’s Texas State-Old Dominion winners — the other teams involved in the tie — to move up to at least third place.

The Ragin’ Cajuns (11-9, 5-3 SBC) and Eagles (13-4, 5-3 SBC) are both 2-0 weeks behind, with Louisiana winning two home games including an impressive win over Old Dominion during Georgia Southern accomplished his sweep on the street by handing his first SBC loss to James Madison.

On Thursday, Louisiana is looking to match its longest winning streak in SBC play this season, while Georgia Southern is looking to match its longest straight streak of league wins.

The UL-GS competition will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Danny Waugh (pxp) and Thallan Walker (analyst) providing commentary. Fans in the Acadiana region can hear Ian Auzenne’s Call of the Game on 103.3 FM The Goat and 1420 AM and globally on the Varsity Network. Live statistics are provided by CajunStats.com.

The matchup with the Eagles puts the Ragin’ Cajuns in another battle for willpower and a battle for control of the game pace, similar to the overtime encounter with Troy on the Jan. 14 road.

Similar to Troy, it will be a matchup between one of Louisiana’s best defensive units in the Sun Belt, which is ranked No. 1 in goal defense (57.0), and one of Georgia Southern’s best offensive units, which is in a virtual tie with Troy tops the league on offense (82.2).

In the SBC game, the Ragin’ Cajuns defense has held the opponent to 51 points or fewer in all but two of the eight games played so far. In contrast, the Eagles have 80+ points in six of their eight SBC games.

Louisiana has turned its best offensive streak in the past two weeks, firing over 40 percent and 60+ points in four of the last five games coming from a 71-51 away win at Texas State. The streak stalled against Arkansas State last Saturday, but the Ragin’ Cajuns were shorthanded as the top scorer Lanay Wheaton was held as a precaution.

The Ragin’ Cajuns’ 1-2 road record in SBC play is somewhat deceptive as the team had the opportunity to win every game. UL lost a one-point heartbreaker at Southern Miss on a shot with six seconds remaining and had a chance to land a game-winning regular-time shot at Troy – both teams currently in second place.

Buoyed by back-to-back 20-point games and four overall over the past month, Wheaton has taken her season-scoring average to over four points and taken the team’s lead at an average of 11.3 points per game. Previous top scorer Tamera Johnson comes close on 11.1 points per game and has hit 12 double digits and recorded four double-doubles.

In the SBC game, Wheaton (13.7) and Johnson (12.1) were the top scorers. destiny rice has boosted her SBC game average to 8.3 points, boosted by a career-high 21 points at Texas State and averaging 10 points per game in the South Alabama-Troy set (January 12-14).

The Ragin’ Cajuns defense, ranked in the top 20 nationally and leading the Sun Belt with 20.9 turnovers per game, is led by Wheaton’s 36 steals, with Johnson just behind with 32 steals. Rice leads with 39 total assists and averages more than three assists per game in SBC play (25 assists total).

Georgia Southern ran the Sun Belt Conference and set a new school record for a single season in 2021-22, averaging 79.3 points per game. The Eagles are off to a strong start to surpass that mark this season, led by preseason All-SBC selection Terren Ward, who is the team’s and Sun Belt’s top scorer at 19.3 points per game. Ward has accumulated six double-doubles leading the conference and has double-digit points in all 17 games.

GAME INFORMATION

LOUISIANA (11-9, 5-3 SBC) at GEORGIA SOUTHERN (13-4, 5-3 SBC)

Appointment time: Thursday, January 26, 2023 / 5:00 p.m. (CST)

Page? site: Statesboro, Ga.

Arena: Hanner Feldhaus (3,897)

RADIO/TVRadio: The GOAT 103.3 FM / 1420 AM
Talent: Ian Auzenne (PxP)
TV: ESPN+ [espn.com]
Talent: Danny Waugh (PxP); Thallan Walker (analyst); LeeAnna Gaye (sideline)

LIVE STATS/SOCIAL MEDIALLive Stats: CajunStats.com [statb.us]Twitter Updates: @RaginCajunsWBB [twitter.com] | #GeauxCajuns

SERIES STORYOverall: Louisiana leads, 11-3
In Statesboro: Tie, 3-3
strand: Louisiana +3

last meeting: UL 56-64, 2/26/22 (Lafayette, La.)
Remarkable: Meeting for a total of 15 times in a streak that began when Georgia Southern joined the Sun Belt Conference in the 2014-15 season… Thursday’s game marks the seventh matchup at the Hanner Fieldhouse and the first since January 2020… The programs divided however, the previous six meetings on In Statesboro, the Eagles won the last two matchups on their home court by double digits (76-58 on 02/07/19 and 83-67 on 01/04/20)…Louisiana resumes a three-game winning streak The fight on Thursday at Hanner Fieldhouse — the program’s third winning streak of multiple games in the series’ brief history with Georgia Southern… The Ragin’ Cajuns’ 56-54 win over the Eagles in the 2021-22 regular season finale at EK Long Gym in Lafayette marked in the the smallest lead in the series last February… With victories in each of the first five matchups between the two programs, Louisiana took control of the series and began making its develop superior leadership.

FIVE PLUS THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  1. take charge: 16 points against Old Dominion was followed by a double-double against Arkansas State that included a key defensive stop in the final seconds of overtime. Tamera Johnson led Louisiana to its first 2-0 week in the Sun Belt game in the 2022-23 season. She was the main force in the second half against ODU, leading the Ragin’ Cajuns with 14 points, while her 10 points and 12 rebounds against ASU on Saturday marked her first double-double in the SBC game.
  2. It’s the little details: A subtle layer of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ robust defensive system is the ability to draw an attack to force a turnover from the opposition. It was a key factor on late defense against ODU, as the squad back-to-back attacks on Monarchs’ possession to defend a 54-50 lead in the final two minutes.
  3. double trouble: It started with a total of 34 points in the win in South Alabama. Since then, Lanay Wheaton and Tamera Johnson have combined to give Louisiana 30+ points in each of their last three games combined in their last three games together (USA, Troy, ODU).
  4. No Quit: The Ragin’ Cajuns’ tenacity was shown in Troy, as the team twice fought off an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter by sending the game into overtime, then again by making ten lead changes against Old Dominion last Thursday worked through.
  5. It’s an art: Louisiana ranks in the top 20 nationally and a close second in the Sun Belt Conference for forced revenues per game (20.9). Thirteen (13) times — and in nine of the last 12 games — the Ragin’ Cajuns have forced their opponents into more than 20 turnovers.
  6. Success story of the sun belt: The program dates back to the 2020-21 season in which Louisiana won the regular-season championship and has won 27 of its last 35 Sun Belt Conference games.

NEXT FOR LOUISIANA

Louisiana travels to Boone, North Carolina immediately after Thursday’s game in Statesboro to wrap up this week’s road trip.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are scheduled to take on App State in a matinee at 1:00 p.m. CST on Saturday, January 28 at the Holmes Convocation Center.

FOLLOW THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Follow the Ragin’ Cajuns on Twitter (@RaginCajunsWBB [twitter.com]), Facebook (/RaginCajunsWBB [facebook.com]) or Instagram (@RaginCajunsWBB [instagram.com]) to keep up to date with all that’s happening with Louisiana Women’s Basketball.

Fans are also encouraged to keep in touch with the Ragin’ Cajuns by downloading the #GeauxCajuns app. Click here [apps.apple.com] for iOS/Apple platforms and here [play.google.com] for Android platforms.

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