Cardinals blow another big lead, drop fourth straight

Published 12:03 am Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lamar sports information
BEAUMONT — Laka Blache’s fourth double-double of the season was not enough for the Lamar University Cardinals as they dropped a 76-69 decision to visiting McNeese State in a Southland Conference women’s basketball game Wednesday night.
Blache had 12 points and 12 rebounds but the Cardinals suffered their fourth straight loss. It’s the longest losing streak of the season for LU (10-17 overall, 6-10 Southland), which is clinging to the eighth, and final, berth in the Southland Conference Tournament with two games remaining. The Cardinals squandered a halftime lead for the third consecutive game. LU held a 40-30 lead over the Cowgirls on Wednesday.
“The thing that keeps coming back to haunt us is our youth and our depth,” LU coach Robin Harmony said. “We’re up 10 points and we make some big mistake. We had some foolish turnovers. We let the other team score on us at will. We didn’t box them out.”
The Cardinals also struggled from the field, shooting 30 percent (12-of-40) after intermission after shooting 42.9 percent (15-of-35) in the first half. The Cards were 4-of-12 (33.3 percent) from 3-point range for the game and 1-of-20 (55 percent) from the foul line.
“You can’t shoot 55 percent on free throws in your own building,” Harmony said. “We work on that in practice every day. We have to do better. It’s a mental thing. You have to shoot better.”
LU’s 10-point lead at halftime was gone in a little more than four minutes as McNeese State (18-10, 10-6) opened the third quarter on a 13-2 run. LU held a 50-49 lead with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter before the Cowgirls went on an 8-1 run over the next 4:21 to take the lead for good.
Kiara Desamours had 16 points and nine rebounds for LU, Addesha Collins, LU’s lone senior, had 14 points on Senior Night in her final home game, while Chastadie Barrs added 10 points. Freshman DeJa Roberts came off the bench to score a career-high nine points for Lamar.
Allison Baggett had 24 points for McNeese State, which officially clinched a tournament berth. Frederica Haywood had 12 points and 15 rebounds, while Jayln Johnson added 10 points.
The Cowgirls were 15 of 17 from the foul line.
Despite the loss, the Cardinals still control their own destiny for a berth in next month’s Southland Conference Tournament in Katy. LU would clinch a berth with wins in its final two games. Lamar is at Incarnate Word at 2 p.m. Saturday before closing out the regular season at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Sam Houston State in what could be a showdown for a tournament berth. LU currently owns a half-game lead over the Bearkats, with Sam Houston State having a game in hand over LU.
Desamours said she feels the Cardinals have what it takes to reach the tournament.
“We want to win,” she said. “It’s frustrating losing like this. We want to go to the tournament.”

Saturday’s game at Incarnate Word will be broadcast live on KLVI–AM 560. The March 2 game at Sam Houston State will be an internet-only broadcast.

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