Lady Dogs upend Lafayette
SCOTT – It may be a cliche’, but the third time was the charm for the Iota Lady Bulldogs when it came to playing the Lafayette Lady Lions.
Paired against the Lady Lions in the opening round of the Acadiana Tournament Thursday night, the Lady Dogs (4-3) used a second-half surge to erase an eight-point halftime deficit and hold on for a 41-36 victory over the Class 5A power.
The victory avenged a pair of losses to the Lady Lions just over a week ago.
“I wasn’t losing to them (Lafayette) again,” said IHS coach Meghann LeJeune, whose team lost to the Lady Lions at home on Nov. 21 (45-36) and then again on Nov. 26 in double overtime (56-47) at the North Vermilion tournament.
“Someone had asked me if I was tired of playing Lafayette and I said: ‘No, I’m tired of losing to them.”
Early on, it looked as if the losing trend would continue when the Lady Lions caused countless turnovers with their fullcourt pressure and forged out to a 22-14 advantage.
“We cannot run with these athletic teams and in the first half, we started to panic a little bit,” said LeJeune. “We play fundamental basketball and that’s what we base our program on. As soon as we stop trying to run with these teams and we start playing composed basketball, we do fine.”
The Lady Dogs found their composure in the third quarter and applied pressure of their own, forcing the Lady Lions into six turnovers of their own.
In addition, they all but eliminated Lafayette’s inside game during the quarter and held the Lady Lions to just five points.
“They have a really good post game and my best post defender (Taylor DeVille) is out (lineup) right now so we tried something different with a full post front and lots of backside help and in the third quarter, it was there,” said LeJeune.
While the Lady Dogs were clicking on defense, their offense came alive as well. They outscored the Lady Lions 14-5 to take a 28-27 advantage, their first lead since early in the first quarter.
“We just settled down in the offense and we were able to find the open holes,” said LeJeune.
Freshman Whitney Landry played a huge part in the rally after hitting a jumper in the lane before draining a 3-pointer on the next trip down the floor. She added another layup in the frame and finished the night with nine points.
“Whitney is a very good instinctual player and she’s very aggressive,” said LeJeune. “She is not timid at all and she got after it tonight.”
The Lady Lions drained a 3-pointer to regain the lead (32-30) with five minutes remaining in the game but Iota went on an 11-4 run from there to close out the game. Brittany Johnson connected on four of six free throw attempts in the final minute to seal the victory.
“Within the last few games, our girls have been clutch at the free throw line,” said LeJeune. “And when we’re in the bonus, I like to put the ball in Brittany’s hand because she hardly ever misses. Her and Jillian (Boone), you can’t really go wrong there.”
Mallory Faul had a big game for the Lady Dogs as well and finished with 10 points, including five in the fourth quarter.
Landry followed with nine points, Johnson added eight, Madison Smith scored six and Alexis St. Andre had four. Boone and Cambri St. Andre rounded out the scoring with two points apiece.