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Monarchs Unable to Complete Comeback Versus Louisiana


NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion women's basketball built an early 18-7 lead to open the game, but fell 66-61 to Louisiana on Thursday night at Chartway Arena.

The Ragin' Cajuns (5-6, 1-1 Sun Belt) used a 21-point second quarter to pull to within a point as ODU saw its lead shrink to 29-28 at halftime. As the sides traded runs in the third a three-pointer by Louisiana's Jaylyn James gave the visitors control, 36-35 with 3:16 to play in the quarter. Jordan McLaughlin then put the Monarchs (9-3, 1-1) back in front as she answered with a long ball from the top of the arc, but her shot was later reviewed and ruled to have come after the shot clock expired. En'Dya Buford rounded out the stanza with an old-fashioned three-point play as ODU went into the final quarter trailing 45-43.

The final quarter was marred by a number of foul calls that prevented the Monarchs from getting any momentum. Of Louisiana's 21 points in the fourth, 13 of them came at the free-throw line in the final five minutes and nine seconds of action. McLaughlin and Brenda Fontana (seven points) provided a late charge with a combined 13 points over the final three minutes and change, but it wasn't enough to close the gap as Louisiana held on.

"What we're normally known for is our defense, and tonight it just seemed like we were doing some things that were uncharacteristic of us," said head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones. "They're a complicated team to play against. The scouting is easy because they have aggressive guards and they're going to play downhill. But what makes it complicated is they tax your discipline, and we were undisciplined in many areas tonight and it showed in a big way."

McLaughlin tied her career high and paced the Monarchs with 22 points, shooting 6-for-16 from the floor, 3-for-8 from distance, and 7-for-8 at the free-throw line. The senior from Charlotte, North Carolina added four rebounds, three assists and one steal to her totals.

Fellow guards Buford and Kaye Clark contributed nine and eight points, respectively while Simone Cunningham and Jenny Nkem Womsi combined for 13 rebounds. As a team, the Monarchs shot 23-for-56 from the floor, 5-for-22 from distance, and 10-for-15 at the line.

ODU scored most points off turnovers (20-15), in the paint (32-22) and on the fast break (18-8) and also won the rebounding battle (32-30). However, the Cajuns made 18-of-26 shots at the charity stripe and got more bench production (31-15).

"They had big scoring quarters: 21 twice and 17 in one," continued Milton-Jones. "Their worst quarter was the first quarter, and I felt like that's where we really played our best defense. But then we fell apart some way, somehow as the game progressed. For us to allow them to have 18 points from the three-point line, you take that away or even half of it and it's a different ball game."

ODU has a quick turnaround as the Monarchs will be back in Chartway Arena this Saturday for a 1 p.m. tilt with Southern Miss.

"We have to get back to the essence of who we are," added Milton-Jones. "Our true identity. Practices must be better so that when it's time to perform, preparation can be shown and put on display."