Baggett layup lifts McNeese Cowgirls past Nicholls
THIBODAUX— It was a tale of two halves for McNeese State’s women’s basketball team as they escaped with a 72-71 Southland Conference win over Nicholls State here Wednesday night.
The win improves the Cowgirls to 14-5 overall and undefeated at 6-0 in league play. The victory extends the Cowgirls’ winning streak to seven games and the 14 victories doubles the total number of wins the Cowgirls won all of last year.
“Well, it was a struggle all night. Nicholls really caused some havoc for us on both ends. Again, even though things didn’t go our way, the girls fought through and found a way to get the win. I’m certainly proud of that.” Said head coach Brooks Donald Williams.
Ashlyn Baggett’s layup with :04 seconds left in the game gave McNeese a 72-71 lead. Nicholls had a chance to win the game but KK Babin’s shot at the buzzer missed to the left, giving the Cowgirls the victory.
Baggett, who was held to five first half points, scored 22 second half points to end the game with a career high 27 points. Baggett was nine of 17 from the field including seven from eight from the free throw line. Baggett came out of the locker room and scored the Cowgirls’ first four points for a 37-34 McNeese lead.
McNeese held the lead until the 8:31 mark and held as much as a 12 point lead seven minutes into the second half. Nicholls retook the lead 55-54 at that point but it didn’t last long as Martika Hull’s putback off a missed layup gave the Cowgirls the lead again. McNeese held onto the lead for the next four minutes until two Nicholl’s free throws tied the game at 63 all. McNeese trailed 65-63 on a jumper by Ricshanda Bickham’s jumper with 3:47 left. Rayawna Gatlin tied the game 67 all and the Cowgirls led 68-67 on a three-point play by Baggett with 1:40 left.
Four straight free throws by Nicholls in the next minute gave the Colonels a 69-68 lead but Baggett would answer with a layup with :41 second for a 70-69 McNeese lead. Nicholls’ Alisha Allen sank two free throws with :19 left in the game for a Nicholls 71-70 before Baggett’s game winner with :04 left.
McNeese also got double figure scoring from Gatlin and Kendra Wells, who both ended the game with 10 apiece. Kiara Johnson led all players with a game high eight rebounds. The Cowgirls outrebounded the Colonels 33-23.
McNeese trailed for most of the first half and by as many as 12 points midway through the half wneh Nicholls held a 19-7 lead with 10:28 left in the half. McNeese didn’t take care of the basketball too well and committed 12 first half turnovers and Nicholls took advantage of that and scored eight points off those turnovers.
With the Colonels leading 25-18, McNeese outscored the Colonels 15-9 in the final five minutes of the half to trail 34-33 heading into the locker room. Despite shooting 64.7 percent from the field and 81.8 percent from the free throw line, the Cowgirls allowed Nicholls’ Alisha Allen to score 15 first half points.