No. 23 Generals women pull upset of No. 10 OLLU, 89-87

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Alexandria, La. – On what would be a record night for the #23 LSUA women’s basketball team, Brittany Hall broke the LSUA program single season assists record as the Generals pulled off perhaps its biggest victory in program history, stunning the #10 Our Lady of the Lake Saints 89-87 Thursday night at The Fort.

Our Lady of the Lake tried to open the game early, getting the lead up to as much as eight points in the first quarter as a Patience Okpe bucket gave the Saints a 19-11 lead with just less than 4:30 remaining in the quarter. The Generals wouldn’t let the Saints pull away as LSUA immediately embarked on a 7-0 run to get that down to just one point on a Danyale Bayonne bucket in transition that made the score 19-18 with less than three minutes left in the period. After an old fashioned three-point play by OLLU to get the deficit back up to four, a pair of Brittany Hall free throws and a Kelsey Thaxton lay-up tied the score at 22-22 for the first time since it was 2-2. However, two Kasey Saldana three-pointers helped the Saints take a 28-24 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was tightly contested as the two defenses settled in. LSUA finally retook the lead for the first time since 2-0 as Danyale Bayonne split a pair of free throws for a 31-30 LSUA lead with 6:18 left before halftime. OLLU scored the next five to retake a four point lead, but then LSUA went on a 10-2 run to take its largest lead of the first half as Kelsey Thaxton hit a pair of free throws with 1:09 left before halftime to make the score 41-37 LSUA. However, OLLU scored the quarter’s final four points to send the two teams into the halftime locker room tied at 41-41.

LSUA came out of the break looking to make a point, going on an 8-1 after OLLU scored the first basket of the third quarter to take a 49-44 lead as Danyale Bayonne took in a pass from Brittany Hall and scored at the rim with 6:45 left in the period. With the Generals holding a 49-47 lead, LSUA went on a 14-5 push to get the first double digit lead of the contest as Courtney Dawsey ran past the defense for a lay-up and a 63-52 LSUA lead. But that lead did not last long as the Saints closed out the period scoring the final seven points to end the third quarter having cut the LSUA lead down to 63-59.

The start of the fourth quarter did not stem the OLLU run that ended the third as the Saints scored the final stanza’s first five points to make the run 12-0 and retake the lead at 64-63. However, LSUA wouldn’t bow down to the final undefeated team in RRAC play as the Generals followed that run with their own 12-3 punch to get the lead back and push it to eight points on another Dawsey lay-up that made it 75-67 Generals. The Saints had their own answer, scoring nine of the next ten points to the game back up on a Lena Wilson basket. From there, the race to the end was on.

With LSUA down 81-80, the Generals got the key decisive run to put the game away, starting with a pair of Brittany Hall free throws that gave LSUA the lead for good, and ended with another pair of Hall free throws to make it 88-82 with just 34 seconds left. The Saints got a three-pointer and then a pair of free throws by Saldana to get back within a point, but the Generals tightened up the defense inside the final ten seconds to secure the upset win.

“Coach Chris Johnson came up with a great game plan and the players executed it as well as possible,” said LSUA head coach Bob Austin. “Courtney attacked well tonight, Brittany played like we’ve come to expect her to play, and Danyale was Danyale. We know this team can be really good, and I think tonight just showed we have the talent to play with anyone. That team is a perennial national tournament qualifier and to be able to go toe-to-toe with them, and beat them, shows we can hang with anybody that remains in front of us. Tonight was big, but we still have a lot in front of us that we still feel we can accomplish this season.”

Kelsey Thaxton led the way for the Generals with 26 points in the contest. Danyale Bayonne also went above 20 points, finishing with 21 to go with seven rebounds and two blocked shots. Courtney Dawsey filled up the stat sheet with 19 points, seven assists, six rebounds, a block, and a steal. On her record setting night, Brittany Hall had nine points and nine assists, breaking the LSUA single season assists record in the process, which was previously held by former General Reagan Maricle.

The Generals finished the night at 42.6% shooting as a team, hitting on 34.8% of their shots from deep. In a major reversal of the game from earlier this season in San Antonio, the Generals enjoyed an advantage at the charity stripe, hitting six more key free throws in nine more attempts than the Saints took in the game. Our Lady of the Lake (20-5, 13-1 RRAC) finished the contest shooting just 37.3% from the field, though they also hit 40% of their three point attempts, even though the two teams each hit eight deep balls in the contest. What helped the Saints hang around was a decided rebounding advantage as OLLU grabbed 54 rebounds, including 21 offensive, when compared to 40 rebounds for the Generals and ten offensive.

#23 LSUA’s win gave the Generals new program records for longest win streak, having now won eight straight, and most in-conference wins, now at 12 RRAC victories. It was also the first time the Generals have defeated Our Lady of the Lake in ten tries. Having now avenged one of its RRAC loses, LSUA (19-4, 12-2 RRAC) looks to keep the winning ways going on Saturday by getting revenge for the other loss in the team’s conference record as Southwest comes to Alexandria for LSUA’s Homecoming Game & Senior Day for the women’s basketball team. Tip-off against the Mustangs (6-15, 3-11 RRAC) is set for 2:00 P.M. in The Fort with the Senior Day commemoration taking place ten minutes before game time.

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