Ayers has career night as women's hoops wins

GO CARDINALS Gia Ayers set school records for free throws made and attempted.
GO CARDINALS
Gia Ayers set school records for free throws made and attempted.
GO CARDINALS

Feb. 1, 2014

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BEAUMONT, Texas - Gia Ayers had a game for the record books Saturday as she led the Lamar Lady Cardinals to a 87-72 win over visiting Texas A&M-Christi in a Southland Conference women's basketball contest.

Ayers set school records by making 16 free throws and attempting 22 as she tied a career high with 30 points as Lamar (12-9 overall, 7-3) moved to within a half-game of conference-leading Central Arkansas. Ayers, who had a game-high seven assists, established a career-high with six steals.

"We were disappointed in the way we played Thursday," Ayers said of a 77-67 loss to Houston Baptist. "We really wanted this one."

JaMeisha Edwards was one point shy of a career high, finishing with 27 points. She and Ayers tied for team-high honors with seven rebounds apiece.

"Gia and JaMeisha were tremendous tonight," Lamar coach Robin Harmony said. "When you have two players scoring like that, you're going to be tough to beat."

Lamar was better from 3-point range Saturday, going 9-of-23 (39.1 percent) from beyond the arc after going 0-of-18 against Houston Baptist. Ayers broke the ice by draining the team's first 3-point attempt just 26 seconds into the game.

"That was a huge weight that was lifted," Ayers said of her 3-pointer. "I think that gave us some confidence."

The Lady Cardinals railed 47-44 at intermission, but opened the second half with an 18-2 run to take control of the game.

"We told the team the first five minutes of the second half sets the pace of the game," Harmony said. "We've had some slow starts to the second half this season, but that wasn't the case this time. We came out determined."

Brittany Mbamalu led the Islanders (10-10, 3-7) with 22 points, but had just three points in the second half.

"She hit six 3-pointers against us in the first half," Harmony said of Mbamalu. "We shut her down in the second half."

The Islanders had trouble with Lamar's press, racking up 31 turnovers, a season-high for a Lamar opponent. Lamar had a season-high 18 steals, finishing with 30 points off turnovers.

Kassie Jones had 14 points for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, while Jasmine Shaw finished with 10 points.

The Lady Cardinals return to action at 2 p.m. Feb. 8 at Sam Houston State before opening a three-game homestand on Feb. 13 against Stephen F. Austin.

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