The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns women's basketball team came back from a six-point deficit and staved off a late rally to defeat the Savannah State Lady Tigers, 63-58, at historic Earl K. Long Gym on Friday evening.

Despite shooting only 37 percent (22-of-59), Louisiana (6-5) forced a season-best 33 turnovers as the Ragin' Cajuns clinched their seventh victory over Savannah State (4-6) in the past nine seasons. Louisiana has forced 30-plus turnovers in two contests this season, marking the first time this feat has happened within the last seven seasons.

UL trailed 52-46 with 7:25 remaining in the game, but the Cajuns went on a seven point run to take a 53-53 lead at 4:35. Louisiana would never relinquish the lead as they picked up the most victories at this point in the season since the 2006-07 campaign. However, the Lady Tigers pulled within two with 34 seconds remaining, but a missed three-pointer sealed the victory for UL.

Mercedes Johnson tallied a team-best 15 points in the contest, reaching her ninth double-figure game of the year. Johnson made 5-of-12 from the floor and reeled in eight rebounds. She also recorded three steals and dished out two assists in 35 minutes.

Junior guard Nicole Morris reached her first double-digit point total of the season, scoring 10 on Friday. The Cypress, Texas native was 3-of-5 from the floor, including banking a pair of critical three-pointers in the second half. She pulled in two rebounds and added two free throws in 24 minutes played.

The Ragin' Cajuns also had help from Jasmine Barnes and Danyell Oliver who both notched eight points each. Barnes, a senior guard, made 50 percent (4-of-8) of her shots, reeling in three boards. Oliver, a native of Bell Rose, tied a season-high three steals, while reeling in two boards and dishing out an assist.

Darice Fountain led the Lady Tigers with a game-high 16 points, while pulling in six rebounds.

SSU made 24-of-45 shots for 53 percent on Friday evening. Louisiana was out-rebounded 37-to-29, but hit 74 percent (17-of-23) of their free throws.

Savannah State went on a 7-1 run in the final stretch of the first half, but the Ragin' Cajuns pulled within two to make it a 29-27 contest at the half.

UL forced a season-best 19 turnovers in the first half. Johnson and Kemi Rotibi each had six points to lead the Cajuns. Rotibi finished the contest with six points and five boards.

It remained a back-and-forth contest in the first 10 minutes, but an inside layup by SSU's Fila Smith gave the Lady Tigers a 10-9 lead.

Louisiana reeled off a four-point run as Smith and Oliver scored back-to-back baskets. Savannah State regained the 16-15 advantage by nailing at trey at 7:24.

The contest was tied at 20-20 with less than four minutes remaining, but the Lady Tigers went on a 7-1 run to take a 27-21 lead with 1:57 left in the contest.

Fountain hit a triple for Lady Tigers at 3:00 minutes to put SSU up 23-20. Savannah State then went on a 5-to-1 run to reach a six point lead, their largest in the half.

D'Mya Clay notched a layup at 1:47 to help UL pull within four. The Cajuns scored two baskets in the final 15 seconds as Rotibi hit a layup. After a SSU turnover, Clay scored a buzzer-beat under the glass to cut UL's deficit to within two at the half.

Oliver's jumper at 18:31 in the second half evened the contest at 31, but it didn't last long as the Lady Tigers went on a 6-2 run to take the 37-33 lead with 16:20 left.

The Cajuns went on a 5-0 run as Nicole Morris a jumper to make a three point contest. Johnson drained a layup and the plus one to tie the contest at 13:41.

Morris's underneath basket at 12:47 gave Louisiana the go-ahead basket as UL took their first lead in the second half, 40-38. The contest went back and forth again where it was tied, 44-44.

Savannah State used a 6-0 run to lead 50-44 at 7:55. The Lady Tigers connected on the rare four-point play in one possession after SSU made a basket while being fouled in the process. SSU recovered the rebound and added in a layup to take the six-point edge.

The Cajuns pulled within two at the 5:14 mark as Oliver stole a pass and tallied the basket, making it a 52-50 contest. Morris drained a triple at 4:49 to help Louisiana re-take a one-point lead they would never give up.

Savannah State pulled within one with a layup at 3:01. Barnes hit a crucial jumper at 1:55 to put the Cajuns up by three. Morris hit another triple at 1:10 to put Louisiana up by six.

The Lady Tigers added four points at the free throw line to cut Louisiana's lead to two points with 34 seconds remaining.

Krystal Motley hit 1-of-2 shots to make it a three-point contest with 20 seconds remaining. The Lady Tigers had a chance to tie the contest with 12 seconds, but air balled the three-point shot as UL clinched their sixth win of the year.

Louisiana returns to action on Sunday hosting the University of New Orleans. UL defeated UNO, 88-27 earlier this season at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. Tip-off will be at Noon inside the Cajundome. Steve Peloquin will have the play-by-play, beginning at 11:45 am on ESPN Sportsradio 1420 AM.


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