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Home Road Trip UL women face rugged road trip to West Virginia and Michigan for uncomfortable games | UL Ragin’ Cajuns

UL women face rugged road trip to West Virginia and Michigan for uncomfortable games | UL Ragin’ Cajuns

by Staff

UL women’s basketball coach Garry Brodhead is both encouraged and disheartened at the same time these days.

The positive side of things stems from his Ragin’ Cajuns putting together their best performance of the season with a 73-52 win over third-place UL Monroe on Saturday.

The other side of the coin comes from the details of the extra long road trip his Cajuns will be taking this week, beginning with a 10 a.m. central time game at Marshall on Wednesday in Huntington, West Virginia.

“I voted against having an education game in conference,” Brodhead said.

A education game is a promotion where elementary school students in the area are invited to have a field trip at a women’s basketball game during school hours.

Typically it’s done with a non-conference game in December.

“I understand promoting, nobody wants to promote women’s basketball more than I do,” Brodhead said. “We (Sun Belt coaches) voted 7-6 not to do it during conference. It’s a distinct advantage (for home team), because you can’t have a shootaround.”

Instead, Brodhead said the league’s senior women administrators contact the one school that didn’t attend the vote (Old Dominion) the next day and the vote changed to 7-7 and it was pushed through.

“Do it before conference,” he added. “Conference is competitive and you want to have an opportunity to win those games. I remember UTA used to do them and man, we just couldn’t win those games. They had 9,000 kids screaming. It was difficult to coach and difficult for the players to play.”

If that wasn’t enough to put Brodhead in a bad mood, UL will then drive from West Virginia to Minnesota to play a non-conference game at Eastern Michigan on Saturday as part of the SBC-MAC Challenge.

“I’d love to have a break after the Marshall game, but then you’ve got to go play that MAC Challenge,” Brodhead said. “I actually might get a chance to play some kids who haven’t played. I don’t want to get anyone else in a non-conference game toward the end of the conference.”

The purpose of the MAC Challenge is to help any team with increasing their net for at-large NCAA purposes.

“I think the main reason we did this challenge is because of the men,” he added. “I don’t think it’s going to help anyone in our conference on the women’s side, net. That’s the main reason why you do it. You want … so your net comes up. I know it’s not going to help us. There’s nobody under 100 in our conference right now.

“If you’re not 40, you’re not getting in.”

Making the education game even tougher is it’s against first-place Marshall, which just suffered its first Sun Belt loss of the season to fall to 16-6 overall and 10-1 in league play.

Of their 11 games, the Thundering Herd has beaten all but one team by double figures. That was James Madison by seven, before James Madison returned the favor 72-63 Saturday.

“JMU kind of ran them off the 3-point line,” Brodhead said. “You’ve still got to handle their press, so that’ll be a tough one. It’s a tough road trip.”

Marshall is averaging 15 3-pointers game to only 5.1 for UL. Brandi Williams has made 42 3-pointers this season with Jaylyn James next in line with 15. By contrast, Marshall has five players with more than 15 3-pointers on the season.

Marshall also forces 13.1 steals a game.

Brodhead is just hoping his Cajuns can repeat Saturday’s performance in Monroe.

“When we went into third quarter, we had two point guards and to me the offense looked so smooth and the defense was really good,” Brodhead said. “We need to build on that.

“The chemistry has to be here. We’re still trying to create that and we’re almost done with the conference. It looked like we had a little more chemistry on Saturday. Can we continue to build it into the tournament? That’s my goal.”

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