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Cardinal women still fighting for semifinal berth

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT – The Lamar Cardinals can take a big step toward securing a first-round bye in next month’s Southland Conference Tournament when they travel down I-10 to meet the Houston Baptist Huskies in an SLC women’s basketball game at 7 tonight.

The Cardinals (17-6 overall, 10-3 Southland) enter the week holding down the third seed in the tournament. LU has already locked up a berth in the eight-team tournament. The top two seeds receive byes into the semifinals, while the third and fourth seeds receive first-round byes. The Cardinals, who have five games remaining, hold a three-game lead over New Orleans and a 3½-game lead over McNeese State. The Cardinals still have a solid chance of clinching one of the top two seeds, as they sit just one game behind SLC leader Central Arkansas and a half-game behind Stephen F. Austin.

The Cardinals, who saw their five-game winning streak end with a loss at Stephen F. Austin on Saturday, continue to sit at the top of the national rankings in several categories. LU leads the nation in turnover margin (plus 9.35), turnovers forced per game (24.57) and steals per game (14.2). The Cards are second in the nation in offensive rebounding, averaging 19.13 per game.

Individually, LU sophomore guard Chastadie Barrs, who has at least one steal in all 54 games in her career, leads the nation in steals with an average of 4.52 per game. Senior post player Kiandra Bowers leads the nation with an average of 5.96 offensive rebounds per game.

Bowers, who missed most of the 2015-16 campaign after suffering a season-ending injury in the second game of the year, has 14 double-doubles this season, and has had five straight double-doubles.

Sophomore guard Moe Kinard leads LU in scoring at 16.3 points per game. Kinard has scored in double digits in 12 of the last 13 games. Bowers is second on the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game, while averaging a team-best 10.6 rebounds per outing.

Houston Baptist (5-17, 3-9) is in a fight to stay alive for a berth in the conference tournament. The Huskies enter tonight’s game 1½ games behind Nicholls State for the final spot. The Huskies have lost two straight games entering tonight’s meeting with the Cardinals.

Lisa Zderadicka leads the Huskies in scoring, averaging 11.0 points per game. Zderadicka is averaging 13.5 points per game in conference contests. Taylor Kollmorgen averages a team-leading 6.5 rebounds per game.

ALL-TIME SERIES

LU holds an 8-2 lead in the series that started on Dec. 19, 2010, when the Cardinals claimed an 88-52 win over the Huskies in a non-conference game at the Montagne Center. HBU didn’t join the Southland Conference until the 2013-14 season. LU is 3-1 all-time at HBU’s Sharp Gym. Last season, the teams met twice in the regular season, with the home team winning each time. The teams met again in the first round of the SLC Tournament, with LU claiming an epic 98-95 win in double overtime. Barrs registered her first career double-double in that game, scoring 19 points and grabbing a career-high 16 rebounds.

UP NEXT

The Cardinals conclude their three-game road swing when they travel to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for a meeting with the Islanders at 2 p.m. Saturday. LU’s next home game is 2 p.m. Feb. 25 when HBU visits the Montagne Center.

TICKETS

For tickets for all LU home games, call 880-1715, or visit www.LamarCardinals.com. The Montagne Center ticket office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. The ticket office opens one hour prior to tipoff for weekend and evening games.