Ragin’ Cajuns Hit Their Stride in WBI
The clock hit zero, the bench exploded in celebration and the players on the floor jumped into each other’s arms. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun Women’s Basketball team had just won its 23rd game of the season and claimed the 2015 Women’s Basketball Invitational Championship. It was a wonderful TEAM moment. As our Sport Tours International TEAM of the Month, here’s a brief close up of the integral parts of that Ragin’ Cajun squad.
This was Robbie Brown’s 124th game in her collegiate career at Louisiana. She had come off the bench and now, with 1:16 left on the clock and her team down by one, she lifted a 3 point shot from the right wing. It hit nothing but net giving her team a lead they would not relinquish. As the only senior on the team, Robbie walked off the court for the final time having played in more games than any player in school history and as an integral part of a championship squad.
Keke Veal collected some impressive individual honors during the season: All-Sun Belt Conference, Sun Belt Conference All-Tournament Team and Most Valuable Player in the WBI. Most importantly, the junior from St. Thomas More HS in Lafayette helped lead her team to 23 wins during the season, almost equaling the 24 total wins from her first two years.
Defense was the name of the game for this year’s Louisiana squad, and no one played it better than 5’5” junior guard Kia Wilridge. Kia’s 100 steals for the season were the best in the Sun Belt Conference and ranked her in the top 25 in the nation. With a starting lineup averaging just over 5’7”, the Ragin’ Cajuns used their speed and quickness to disrupt opponents and turn defense into offense throughout the season to get easy baskets.
Sophomore Jaylyn Gordon stuffed the stat sheet as a leader in minutes played, three pointers per game, as well as three point and free throw percentage. Along with her backcourt mates Veal and Wilridge, Gordon gave Louisiana a three guard lineup that created headaches for opposing teams but put smiles on the faces of its fans.
Prejean Adrienne and Simone Fields rounded out the starting five, averaging 10 points and 10 boards between them while battling in the paint. Gabby Alexander and Jodi Quinn brought energy off the bench in every game while earning double digit minutes in Coach Brodhead’s rotation. As with every successful team, the ULL reserves contributed daily in practice to game readiness and a positive, winning attitude.
This season was the third of Head Coach Garry Brodhead’s tenure in Lafayette. Upon arriving back at his alma mater in 2012, he brought a style of play that featured speed, a pressing defense and 3 point shooting. Along with a dedicated staff, Coach Brodhead was able to bring in players who fit his system and thrived in the up-tempo, aggressive play that has become synonymous with Ragin’Cajun women’s basketball. This year’s success was achieved even while two of the team’s key players from the previous season, Brooklyn Arceneaux and Sylvana Okde, sat out due to injuries. The future looks bright in Lafayette.
Coach Brodhead summed it up this way: "The WBI Tournament was a great experience for our young women and we were extremely excited for the players. As a coach, I've always said Play Hard + Work Hard = Championships. The young women on our team worked and played extremely hard all season and the result was the first Championship in the history of our program. We are very proud to have these players represent our Team, our University and our Community.”