2 wins away … Lumberjacks stand in Lamar women’s way

Published 12:23 am Saturday, March 11, 2017

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT – The Lamar Cardinals make their 12th straight appearance in the Southland Conference Tournament when they compete in the semifinals at 3:30 p.m. today at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy.

The second-seeded Cardinals (22-6 overall, 15-3 Southland) are seeking their first tournament title since 2010 and the accompanying berth in the NCAA Tournament that goes along with the trophy.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Cardinals, who received an automatic bye into the semifinals by earning the No. 2 seed, will face third-seeded Stephen F. Austin (24-6, 14-4). SFA advanced to the semifinals with a 77-63 win over McNeese in Friday’s quarterfinals. The conference championship game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

“I definitely think we have one of the most talented teams in the tournament, but we’re also the youngest,” said LU coach Robin Harmony, who starts three sophomores, one freshman and one senior. “Some of our players got good experience here last year by playing two games in the tournament. That should help. We’re going to need our prime-time players to play like prime-time players this weekend.”

Among those prime-time players is sophomore guard Chastadie Barrs, who was named the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. Barrs, who leads the nation in steals, got plenty of experience in last season’s tournament, playing 85 minutes in two games, including all 50 in LU’s 98-95 double-overtime win over Houston Baptist, finishing with 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in that game.

Barrs is one of three second-team All-Southland Conference selections on the Cardinals, joining senior post Kiandra Bowers and sophomore guard Moe Kinard, who was also named the Southland Conference Newcomer of the season after transferring to LU from the University of Houston.

Kinard leads the Cardinals in scoring at 15.7 points per game. Bowers averages 14.5 points per game and a team-best 10.4 rebounds. Bowers leads the nation in offensive rebounding at 5.89 per game. Barrs averages 8.7 points per game and leads the conference in assists at 6.7 per game. Her 132 steals this season set a Southland Conference single-season mark and tied the LU mark set by Ramona Jones in the 1990-91 campaign.

A good omen for the Cardinals is that the March 11 semifinal date and March 12 championship date match the dates the Cardinals won the semifinals and finals in 2010. That season LU defeated UT Arlington 70-61 in the March 11 semifinals before rolling past Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by an 86-59 final in the March 12 championship game.

WATCH AND LISTEN: All LU postseason games will be aired on KLVI (AM 560). Saturday’s semifinal game will be streamed on ESPN3. Sunday’s championship game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT TICKETS: Tickets for LU’s first game are $15 each. Tickets are available online at  https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/BuyNew.asp?EventID=213808&SponsorID=9259#.WKNpWtIrIpt. LU will also have a ticket window at the Merrell Center prior to each Cardinals’ game in the tourney.

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.

email author More by I.C.