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Cowgirls have had Cardinals’ number

SOUTHLAND WOMEN: McNEESE STATE (10-11) AT LAMAR (15-5)

• When: 2 p.m. today

• Where: Montagne Center, Beaumont

• Webcast/Radio: ESPN3.com/KLVI-AM 560

• Southland records: Lamar 8-2, McNeese State 5-5

• Series record: McNeese leads 43-28; last meeting, McNeese won 88-78 in the Southland Conference second round in Katy on March 11, 2016

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT – The Lamar Cardinals meet their most familiar rival when they host the McNeese State Cowgirls at 2 p.m. Saturday in a Southland Conference women’s basketball game at the Montagne Center.

The game is the opening contest of a doubleheader, with the men’s game between LU and McNeese scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.

Saturday’s contest will be the 72nd time the two programs have met on the hardwood, with McNeese holding a 43-28 edge in the all-time series that started when the Cardinals played their first-ever game back in the 1969-70 season.

The Cardinals (15-5 overall, 8-2 Southland) look to avenge last season’s struggles against the Cowgirls (10-11, 5-5), who swept three games from LU last year, including a come-from-behind 88-78 win over LU in the second round of the Southland Conference Tournament.

LU enters Saturday on a three-game winning streak, and the Cardinals are 11-0 at home this season, including a 5-0 mark in conference play. LU has outscored its opponents by an average of 28.7 points per game at the Montagne Center. In five home games, the Cards are outscoring their opponents by an average of 21.4 points per contest.

Moe Kinard leads LU in scoring at 16.6 points per game, followed by Kiandra Bowers, who averages 13.8 points per game. Bowers averages 10.6 rebounds per game, good for second in the conference. In SLC games, Bowers’ average of 11.3 rebounds per game is tied for the SLC lead with Frederica Haywood of McNeese. Bowers leads the nation in offensive rebounding, pulling down an average of 5.95 per game.

Bowers is coming off her 11th double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and matching her career high with 16 rebounds in Thursday’s 66-55 win at New Orleans.

LU’s Chastadie Barrs continues to dazzle defensively. The sophomore guard, who has at least one steal in all 51 career games, leads the nation in steals per game at 4.50. Barrs also gets it done at the other end of the court, leading the Southland Conference in assists at 6.6 per game, good for 15th in the nation.

As a team, the Cardinals lead the nation in steals per game (14.2), turnover margin (plus 9.35) and in turnovers forced (24.95 per game).

Victoria Rachal leads the Cowgirls in scoring at 10.3 points per game. McNeese comes into Saturday having dropped three straight games, most recently a 72-49 decision to visiting Central Arkansas on Tuesday.

HOP ON THE BUS, GUS

LU will be offering a shuttle to the Montagne Center beginning with Saturday’s doubleheader. The shuttle will run from 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m., 4-5 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. The shuttle will pick up students in front of Gentry Hall and drop off at the Montagne Center Gate 1. Following the game, students can catch the shuttle back to the dorms outside Gate 1, and be taken back to Gentry Hall.

STANDINGS

LU enters Saturday’s game tied for third place with Central Arkansas, just a half-game behind conference co-leaders Stephen F. Austin and Abilene Christian. McNeese is in a three-way for fifth place with New Orleans and Nicholls, three games behind LU and Central Arkansas and 3½ games behind the leaders.

WHAT’S NEXT ON THE AGENDA?

The Cardinals host Sam Houston State at 5:30 p.m. Thursday before opening a three-game road swing with a crucial game at Stephen F. Austin at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 11.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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