UTA women can’t stop Lafayette charge, lose by 2

Posted Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Sylvana Okde scored 20 points to lead Louisiana-Lafayette to a 66-64 victory over UT Arlington on Saturday at the Cajundome.

Okde hit a season-high six 3-pointers, and junior guard Robbie Brown added eight points and a career-high 10 rebounds to lead the Ragin’ Cajuns (9-5, 2-1).

The Mavericks (1-14, 0-4) led 59-57 with 3:50 remaining, but Cajuns sophomore guard Kia Wilridge forced a Desherra Nwanguma turnover and found Brown on a fast break to tie the score.

One minute later, Wilridge recorded another steal and nailed a jumper in the lane to give Louisiana-Lafayette a 61-59 lead. UTA was unable to recover, and Okde iced the Cajuns’ victory with two free throws in the final 10 seconds.

“That is what we are about,” Louisiana-Lafayette coach Garry Brodhead said. “When you can play defense and keep at it, you can make some stops. That’s what happened tonight. We started to make some stops and pushed the ball in transition better than we have in a while.”

Senior guard Laila Suleiman scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Mavericks, who have now lost four in a row. Fellow seniors Nwanguma and Briana Walker each added 15 points.

Seeking their first Sun Belt victory, the Mavericks looked solid early. UTA used a 20-6 run to take an 11-point lead with 5:35 left in the first half. Louisiana-Lafayette battled back to trail 34-28 at halftime.

Okde began the second half with three straight 3-pointers as the Cajuns used a 9-2 run to take a 37-36 lead.

“Louisiana came out and pressed after the first half,” UTA coach Krista Gerlich said. “We talked about that at half time. We knew that’s what they were going to do, and crash the boards. That’s exactly what they did and we didn’t handle it well.”

The game saw 11 lead changes, seven of which came in the second half.

The Mavericks next travel to San Marcos to face rival Texas State at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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