Cardinals face Huskies in first round

Published 10:30 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2016

BEAUMONT — The struggles are behind the Lamar Cardinals.
Lamar is now 0-0 entering the Southland Conference Tournament and today’s 11 a.m. first round matchup against Houston Baptist University at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy.
This year marks the 11th consecutive season the Cardinals (11-18) have reached the postseason. Lamar won the school’s only women’s conference tournament title in 2010.
“Win you advance and lose you come home,” Lamar coach Robin Harmony said Wednesday during the Cardinals final practice before leaving for Katy. “I don’t think it matters what seed we are in. It matters that we are in and the kids getting the experience of getting under the bright lights of postseason play.”
Lamar is the No. 8 seed.
The SLC Tournament is definitely a freshman affair for the Cardinals. Lamar starts only one senior, Addesha Collins, to go with two freshmen and two sophomores.
Collins leads the Cardinals at 14.9 points per game.
Collins is not ready to hang up her sneakers yet and is ready to make some noise in the tournament.
“It is very exciting to know we made it my senior year,” Collins said. “There are some teams that don’t get to make it this far. It is always good to keep the season going. This is a stressful situation. Who wants their season to end? I am definitely not ready for it. I don’t know what I will do once basketball is over.”
Freshman Chastadie Barrs was named SLC’s Defensive Player of the Year Tuesday and fellow freshman Kiara Desamours was honored as Freshman of the Year.
“The two players for us who got those accolades have to play well,” Harmony said. “The rest of the players will then fall into suit.”
The Huskies (14-14) enter the tournament the No. 5 seed after going 9-9 in conference play.
Anna Strickland leads the Huskies with 13.5 points per game and leads the conference with 13.6 rebounds a contest. Monet Neal puts in 12.4 points per game and Rachel Arthur averages 10.7.
“Anna is someone we were cheering for when they were playing (Texas A&M) Corpus Christ,” Harmony said. “We needed them to win and once again she came through for her team. Even Monet is someone we have trouble facing down low. They have veteran players with three senior starters. They will be tough to play.”
Lamar is 7-2 all time against HBU. The Cardinals and Huskies split the two games this season. Lamar won 77-70 on Jan. 23 in Beaumont and HBU took the second game 77-66 on Feb. 10 in Houston. This is the first time the two teams meet in the SLC Tournament.
“We whooped them when we got them at our place,” Harmony said of HBU. “When we went to Houston we had three players not play well and they all picked the same day to not show. We know we can hang with them.”
The Cardinals are 9-11 in the tournament all time and is making their 13th appearance.
Thursday’s winner is schedule to face McNeese State at 11 a.m. Friday. The Cowgirls enter the tournament as the No. 4 seed.

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About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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