Louisiana captures WBI Tournament Championship

Published 4:03 pm Friday, April 3, 2015

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns captured the 2015 Women’s Basketball Invitational in exciting fashion, 52-50, over the Siena College Saints at the Earl K. Long Gym Sunday.

Louisiana’s Robbie Brown gave her team a 50-48 advance with 1:16 remaining with a 3-pointer.

The Ragin’ Cajuns, who led the Saints by as many as 14 at 44-30 with 12:15 left, never looked back after that en route to championship.

One of the members of that championship team is 2013 Bogalusa High School graduate Gabby Alexander.

Alexander said winning the title was exciting.

“For me, it was something I had never felt before,” Alexander said. “I had never won a tournament like this before. It’s a feeling that nobody can take from you.”

Alexander was Louisiana’s second-leading scorer in Sunday’s championship game. She finished with eight points on three of six from the floor and two of three at the free-throw line.

Alexander also grabbed a rebound, made a steal and blocked a shot in her 24 minutes of playing time.

Alexander finished her sophomore season having averaged 3.7 points per game to go with 3.8 rebounds. She tallied 12 assists, 14 steals and four blocks in the 35 games she played, which included two starts for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Alexander said this season was up and down for her.

“I went through a little slump in the middle,” Alexander said. “My minutes were still up, but my confidence was down a little bit. Toward the end, my confidence was coming back a little. I was in the same mindset I had in high school, don’t think too much, just play.”

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette posted a 23-12 overall record in the 2014-15 campaign.

Keke Veal led the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with 20 points Sunday.

The Ragin’ Cajuns won an exciting game in the semifinals March 26 to reach the finals by defeating Oral Roberts, 65-64.

Simone Fields, who scored nine points, gave Louisiana the lead, 65-64, after she took a pass from Veal, got fouled, hit the shot and converted the 3-point play.

Alexander had a steal and a rebound in her 11 minutes of that game.

This is the sixth year of the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

The previous champions are Appalachian State (2010), the University of Alabama at Birmingham (2011), Minnesota (2012), Detroit and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The 16-team tournament has two regions, the East and the West.

Louisiana was the second-seeded team in the West while Siena was the No. 3 seed in the East.