Blown leads highlight heartbreaking weekend for Warhawks

Kalie Nolan

The anatomy of a collapse: featuring the ULM women’s basketball team.

This past week, the Warhawks (7-20, 3-13) hosted their last two home games of the season and produced two more marks in the loss column. UL-Lafayette (16-12, 10-6) and Southern Mississippi (18-9, 11-5) both escaped Fant-Ewing Coliseum with the win.

The Warhawks started Thursday’s game on the right foot and jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first six minutes. ULM maintained its lead through the entire quarter, outscoring the Ragin’ Cajuns 12-8.

ULM lost control of the lead halfway through the second quarter. While the Warhawks tied it up with 5:50 left, they never regained the lead for the rest of the first half. ULM was outscored 18-9, and the half ended with a 26-21 score.

In the third quarter, the Warhawks produced clean play and regained the lead. The Cajuns refused to back down and responded quickly. Within three minutes of taking the lead and being up five, ULM lost it again. The quarter ended with the scoreboard reading 42-36.

In the fourth quarter, the Warhawks were outscored 15-10, and the game ended at 57-46. ULM suffered a season sweep from ULL and has now lost 18-straight against its in-state rival.

The key takeaway of the game was the 21 turnovers for the Warhawks compared to six from the Cajuns, which led to 17 points off turnovers for ULL. The Cajuns also produced 36 bench points as opposed to nine from ULM.

If Warhawks fans thought blowing a first-quarter lead was bad, they probably were not prepared for the circus that was Saturday afternoon.

ULM, as it has all season, started the game on fire with an 8-2 run. In the blink of an eye, the Warhawks found themselves with a 23-6 lead. The first sign of trouble came when the Golden Eagles ended the quarter with a 7-2 run.

The Warhawks quickly put the concern to rest as they continued to hold their lead through the second. They outscored Southern Miss 25-13 and ended the half with a towering 19-point lead.

During the third quarter, ULM saw its lead slowly slip as Southern Miss chipped away at the deficit. The Golden Eagles cut the lead to ten before the Warhawks responded with more offensive firepower. The quarter ended with a 67-54 score, and while the lead was decreased, the chances of blowing the game were low. The only way the Warhawks could lose was with their worst fourth quarter of the season.

As fate would have it, that’s exactly what happened.

The once-hot Warhawks offense turned ice-cold, and Southern Miss turned opportunities into points. The lead shrunk to four before ULM scored its next basket. With 3:24 to go, a free throw by Southern Miss created a one-possession game. Two minutes later, the Golden Eagles did the impossible and took the lead. Three points gave ULM the lead back with 11 seconds left, but a costly foul on Bre Sutton gave Southern Miss two free throws to send the game into overtime. The Warhawks ended the quarter only scoring an abysmal five points.

The offense for ULM stuck to its ice-cold habits, and when the clock hit zero, the Golden Eagles completed the immaculate comeback.

The Warhawks will finish the season on the road against Arkansas State and Appalachian State next weekend.