Sports briefs for Thursday

Published 10:45 pm Wednesday, October 28, 2015

HOUSTON – The Lamar University women’s soccer team kept its hopes for a Southland Conference Tournament berth alive with a 2-1 victory at Houston Baptist on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals (7-11-1 overall, 3-6-1 Southland) have 10 points, two behind Nicholls with one game remaining. LU must win its season finale at McNeese State at 7 p.m. Friday and hope for favorable results on the out-of-town scoreboard to earn a trip to next month’s tournament at Central Arkansas.
LU goalkeeper Lauren Lovejoy made 10 saves to give her a school-record 150 saves for the season, surpassing the previous mark of 147 set by Kelsie Binetti in 2007. Lovejoy made seven saves, including a pair of larcenous stops in the second half to preserve the LU victory.
LU raced out a 2-0 lead in the first half against the Huskies (9-5-1, 7-3-0), as HBU saw its hopes for a regular-season title come to an end.
Alexus Aviles gave LU a 1-0 lead with 30:37 remaining in the first half when she took a cross from Morgan Burden and blasted it past HBU goalkeeper Alanis Guevara for her ninth of the season.
Jannet Hernandez pushed the LU lead to 2-0 with 3:37 remaining in the half when she scored on a penalty kick for her first goal of the season. Hernandez extended her school record with her fifth career penalty-kick goal.
The Huskies broke Lovejoy’s shutout with 11:16 remaining in the second half when Lovejoy stopped Sabriah Spencer’s shot, but couldn’t corral the rebound. Ellee Hall pounced on the loose ball and put it into the cage for her fourth of the season.

BEAUMONT – Lamar University senior Taylor Stockton was named the Southland Conference Women’s Golfer of the Month for October, the league office announced Wednesday.
Stockton had a pair of top-five finishes in as many tournaments for the Cardinals, including a tie for first place at the Fred Marx Invitational hosted by Louisiana-Monroe. Stockton shot a 229 to tie teammate Wenny Chang for the individual crown as she helped LU win its first tournament of the season.
In LU’s other tournament of the month, Stockton was the Cardinals’ top finisher at the Sam Houston State Bearkat Invitational, tying for fourth to help LU place third.
“Taylor is definitely deserving of the award,” LU coach Jessica Steward said. “She had a great month, and she keeps working hard in order to get better. I’m very proud of her.”
The Cardinals wrap up the fall portion of their schedule at the UAB Fall Beach Blast in Gulf Shores, Ala., that is scheduled for Nov. 2-3.

BEAUMONT – The Lamar University women’s soccer team was picked to finish atop the Southland Conference standings in preseason polls of the league’s coaches and sports information directors, the SLC announced Wednesday.
“It doesn’t matter where you are picked to start the season, it’s where you finish at the end of the season,” LU coach Robin Harmony said. “We’re going to have a target on our backs, but we can use that as motivation.”
LU was picked just ahead of Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin in the coaches’ poll. The Cardinals totaled 130 points and garnered five first-place votes. Northwestern State, last season’s conference tournament champion, also received five first-place votes, collecting 126 total points. Stephen F. Austin, the defending regular-season champion was picked to finish third, collecting 125 points and two first-place votes.
The conference’s sports information directors gave LU five first-place votes as the Cardinals collected a total of 125 points. Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State each received three first-place votes. SFA was picked to finish second, earning 117 points, while Northwestern State was tabbed third with 110 points.
The Cardinals, who finished second in the Southland Conference with a 14-4 record last season, went 17-14 overall. LU returns two seniors, including first-team all-conference senior guard JaMeisha Edwards, who averaged a team-leading 16.1 points per game last season.
Guard Addesha Collins is LU’s only other senior this season. Collins, a transfer from Tallahassee Community College, averaged 8.9 points per game last year in her first season with the Cardinals.
Post player Kiandra Bowers is the only junior on LU’s roster this season. Bowers averaged 9.1 points per game as a sophomore, while finishing second on the team in rebounding (6.0 per game) and rebounding (13).
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook had 33 points and 10 assists to help Billy Donovan win his NBA coaching debut as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs 112-106 on Wednesday night.
Kevin Durant scored 22 points in his first regular-season game since February. He made just 6 of 19 field goals, but hit two critical free throws with 11.5 seconds remaining to put the Thunder in control.
Enes Kanter had 15 points and 16 rebounds off the bench for the Thunder.
Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge had 11 points and five rebounds in his debut with San Antonio after nine years with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Manu Ginobili scored 11 points and Tony Parker added 10 for San Antonio.
Westbrook found Durant for a 3-pointer with just more than four minutes remaining to put the Thunder up 99-97. It was Westbrook’s 10th assist.
Spurs: San Antonio’s Matt Bonner played for Donovan at Florida. … Leonard scored 14 points in the first half. … Duncan finished with eight points and six rebounds in 25 minutes.
Thunder: Oklahoma’s lineup of Durant, Westbrook, Adams, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson started together for the first time since Feb. 8. … Westbrook scored 12 points in the first quarter and 19 in the first half. … Westbrook, who averaged 7.3 rebounds per game last year, didn’t get his first board until the final minute of the third quarter.
San Antonio hosts Brooklyn on Friday. Oklahoma City plays at Orlando on Friday.

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IRVING (AP) — Dez Bryant could be back in the lineup against Seattle after missing five games with a broken right foot.
If Dallas’ All-Pro receiver does return, it will be alongside a new starting running back in Darren McFadden as the Cowboys try to figure out a way to win without quarterback Tony Romo.
Bryant practiced for the first time in almost seven weeks Wednesday, although he was limited. He was injured in the opener against the Giants, and Romo went down a week later with a broken left collarbone.
The Cowboys (2-4) haven’t won in the four games since, and now get the defending NFC champion Seahawks (3-4) on Sunday before a visit from NFC East rival Philadelphia in consecutive home games.
Bryant’s absence is the longest of his six-year career, surpassing the four games he missed with a broken ankle at the end of his rookie season in 2010. Last year’s NFL leader in touchdown catches wasn’t available in the locker room when it was open to reporters Wednesday.