Monday, March 8, 2021 4:23 PM EST
By The Associated Press, AP
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — Felmas Koranga had 12 points and a career-high 22 rebounds, Alexus Dye recorded her NCAA-leading 22nd double-double, and Troy beat Louisiana-Lafayette 73-65 on Monday to claim the Sun Belt Conference tournament and an automatic NCAA bid.
Troy (22-5) was playing in the title game for the third time since 2016 — winning all three including a 78-64 victory over ULL in the 2016-17 season.
Dye and Koranga — each averaging a double-double — scored Troy’s first eight points of the third quarter after both struggled in the first half with just four combined points.
ULL, which trailed by as many as 15 points, went on a 10-1 run to get within 56-53 early in the fourth but Troy scored the next eight as Koranga took over on the inside, scoring six straight. The Ragin' Cajuns went scoreless for three-plus minutes during the stretch.
Jasmine Robinson sealed it at the line with 24.7 seconds left for a 71-63 lead after ULL wasn't able to score on a four-shot possession.
Dye finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds and Robinson added 17 points and nine assists. Troy, which entered with the third-best scoring average in Division I at 86.9 points, struggled from the floor at 36.4% but dominated the offensive boards with 24 to hold a 24-2 edge in second-chance points.
Troy nearly didn't get out of the quarterfinals, needing a 21-8 burst in overtime and a tournament-record 37-point performance by Dye to beat Texas State on Saturday. Dye had 20 points and 13 rebounds on Sunday when Troy almost let a 10-point lead slip away in the final 3:30, only to hold off Appalachian State 66-63.
Ty’Reona Doucet scored 14 points, and Skyler Goodwin had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Louisiana (16-6), which had its 15-game winning streak snapped. Jomyra Mathis added 13 rebounds.
The game was paused briefly with 2:01 remaining in the fourth quarter due condensation on the floor at the Pensacola Bay Center.
Troy will look to extend its 11-game streak by winning its first NCAA Tournament game in four appearances.
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