By McNeese Assistant SID Pam Lafosse:
BROOKLYN, N.Y.— The McNeese women's basketball team put up a valiant effort Saturday in its 69-60 loss to a much taller and athletic Georgia Tech team in the championship game of the LIU Brooklyn Turkey Classic. Georgia Tech, a member of the ACC has also been receiving votes in the Top 25 this season. The loss drops the Cowgirls to 4-3 in the year. Georgia Tech improved to 4-2. McNeese will head home and will have a 10-day break before hosting UL-Monroe on Dec. 11.
"As a whole, this is probably the best we have played as a unit. We saw a lot of good things on defense and we did some really good things on offense as well," said head coach Brooks Donald Williams.
The Cowgirls had four players score in double figures with sophomore Jayln Johnson leading McNeese with 14 points. Johnson also dished out a game high eight assists and only turned the ball over three times despite being pressured all day by the Georgia Tech full-court press. Senior Cecilia Okoye chipped in 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Aslo scoring in double figures was freshman Victoria Rachal who finished the game with 12 points and senior NeTanya Jones missed a double-double by a rebound. Jones scored 10 points and led the Cowgirls with nine rebounds. Okoye and sophomore Allison Baggett were named to the all-tournament team.
"I though Jayln Johnson played a heck of a basketball game. I thought she brought it right to them and put us in a good position for some good shot."
In the second half, the Cowgirls trailed by as many as 12 points with 14:41 left in the game but the Cowgirls kept chipping away and would get as close as five points with 7:08 left in the game on a layup by Victoria Rachal. That would be as close as the Cowgirls would get as Georgia Tech would outscore McNeese 10-3 in the final 3:10 of the game.
"There was a time in the second half where we couldn't close that gap. I'm really proud of the girls and this has been a really good trip for us. We have really grown and learned about ourselves on this trip."
McNeese jumped out to a 4-0 early lead in the first minute of the game with all four points coming from Okoye. The lead changed a few times with both teams going on scoring runs.
With the Cowgirls trailing 18-12, McNeese cut the lead to 23-22 on a Jones put back and then two free throws by Amber Donnes midway through the half. Georgia Tech then scored four straight points to extend its lead to seven but the Cowgirls came back and scored four straight as well to cut the lead to four points (29-25) with 8:13 left.
Following the final media timeout of the half, Georgia Tech outscored the Cowgirls 9-4 to take its largest lead of the half, 40-29 with 2:40 left. Rachal scored the final points of the half as the Cowgirls headed to the locker room trailing 40-31.
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