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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Cards announce 2018-19 schedule

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT – Fourteen home games, including nine Southland Conference dates, highlight the 2018-19 Lamar women’s basketball schedule that was announced Friday.

Big Red opens its season at Louisiana on Nov. 6. The home season begins just four days later with McMurry, 7 p.m. on Nov. 10, followed by Louisiana College on Nov. 12. Other non-conference home highlights include LeTourneau (Nov. 20), Howard Payne (Dec. 17), and Pacific (Dec. 20). LU’s current streak of 28 consecutive wins at the Montagne Center is the second-longest active home winning streak in the NCAA behind only the Huskies of Connecticut.

“We’re proud to own the second-longest active home winning streak in the NCAA right now,” said head coach Robin Harmony, the 2017-18 SLC Coach of the Year. “28 consecutive wins anywhere are pretty impressive, and it’s been a real pleasure to do that in front of our terrific Cardinal fans. We hope to continue that success this season and defend the nest.”

In addition to a road match at Louisiana, several other opponents provide Lamar with a chance to prove itself away from the friendly confines of the Montagne. LU will play at Mississippi State (Nov. 15), in a two-day tournament in Denver (Nov. 23-24), at Texas A&M (Nov. 30), and at Kansas State (Dec. 5).

“We decided to schedule challenging road games in Kansas State, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State this year that will give our kids the experience that they need to get ready for conference play,” said Harmony. “Texas A&M in particular will be special for Chaz because it was originally her dream school, so it’ll give her a chance to show them what they missed. We’ve also got a really good tournament on the docket for Thanksgiving in Denver. We’ll take a few moments to sightsee and give these kids a chance to experience something they wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to, but it’ll still have a ‘business trip’ attitude.”

League play begins with four of Lamar’s first five conference games at home. A two-game slate of Houston Baptist (Jan. 2) and A&M-Corpus Christi (Jan. 5) will bookend a one-game road trip to New Orleans (Jan. 9) before two more SLC home games against Central Arkansas (Jan. 12) and Southeastern Louisiana (Jan. 16). The Card play at Incarnate Word (Jan. 23) and at Sam Houston State (Jan. 26) before returning home to close January against Nicholls State (Jan. 30).

February begins with the first half of Lamar’s rivalry series with McNeese State (Feb. 2), the first of four consecutive road games. The Cardinals will travel to Abilene Christian (Feb. 6), Stephen F. Austin (Feb. 9), and Northwestern State (Feb. 13) before returning home for Sam Houston State (Feb. 16) and Incarnate Word (Feb. 20). The road slate and February both draw to a close at A&M-Corpus Christi (Feb. 23) and at HBU (Feb. 27).

Rounding out the 2018-19 season, Lamar will play two regular season home game in March, facing SFA (Mar. 2) before ending the year with archrival McNeese at home on March 9.

All of LU’s home games will be on ESPN3, the network’s online platform.

The Southland Conference Tournament will be at the Merrell Center in Katy for the 12th consecutive year. This season’s women’s tournament is set for March 13-17.

Ticket information for the upcoming season will be announced in the near future.

Accruing a 22-8 overall record and an astounding 17-1 mark in SLC play, the Cardinals were a perfect 13-0 at home last season. After making an appearance in the semifinals of the SLC tournament, Lamar made its sixth trip to the postseason in nine years when it represented the Southland in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. 10 Cards return from the 2017-18 squad including starters Chastadie BarrsMoe Kinard, and Jadyn Pimentel. Barrs took home SLC Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-SLC, and Academic All-SLC honors after tying an NCAA record for steals in a single season, and Kinard joined her on the First Team and the All-Academic team. Pimentel was the conference’s Freshman of the Year.

“I think that looking at our team coming back from the summer that our players have improved,” said Harmony. “Chaz improved remarkably, Mo got better, and so did JP, and it’s really to them that they worked on their game during the summer. I really wasn’t expecting them to lift their game that much, but it’s incredible how much of a difference we can already see from this time last year. As long as we stay healthy, I think that we have more talent this year than ever before.

“We also have three freshmen joining us this season, two of which could possibly be starters. Angel Hastings was a Top 100 guard in the nation, and Maya Crump is definitely a Power 5 kid that got overlooked. Both of them can flat-out ball, and though I don’t know how soon they’ll get into the starting lineup, they definitely have the talent to be there. But, even if they don’t make it into the starting lineup, it’s really nice to have a sixth or seventh man coming off the bench, which would give them plenty of time to learn our system. I truly believe we’ve got six or seven student-athletes on our team now that are Power 5 talents that chose to come to Lamar so they could be impact players.”