Feb. 11, 2012
BEAUMONT, Texas -
All five starters scored in double figures to lead the Lamar Lady Cardinals to a 70-52 win over visiting Nicholls in a Southland Conference women's basketball game Saturday.
Kalis Loyd led Lamar with 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Gia Ayers and Carenn Baylor each had 12 points, Taylor Hays had 11 points and Monique Whittaker added 10 points as the Lady Cardinals extended their winning streak to three games.
"The starting five did an outstanding job," Lamar coach Larry Tidwell said. "When Kalis is on her game and Gia is on her game and Taylor Hays steps up and makes the plays she made today, we can have a very good team."
The Lady Cardinals (13-11 overall, 5-5 Southland) never trailed in the contest. Lamar opened the game on a 6-0 run and never allowed Nicholls to even forge a tie. Lamar led by as many as 12 points in the opening half when Whittaker scored on a layup to give the Lady Cards a 31-19 with 4:14 remaining. Lamar took a 36-30 lead into halftime.
Nicholls (13-11, 6-5) cut the gap to 51-49 with 10:11 remaining in the second half on a 3-pointer by K.K. Babin, but the Lady Cardinals erased all doubt about the final outcome by going on a 19-1 over the next 8:05 to lead 70-50 on a Whittaker layup with 2:06 remaining.
In addition to her 12 points, Ayers had a game-high seven assists with only turnover in 32 minutes, a stat that did not go unnoticed by Tidwell.
We've played five point guards over the course of the season, but now we've settled in on Gia and she's done a phenomenal job," Tidwell said. She made some good passes today."
The Lady Cardinals are 4-2 since Ayers became the starting point guard. In that time, she is averaging 7.7 points per game with 29 assists and 16 turnovers.
"I'm just now getting the feel of the game - the feel of the offense and the feel of the defense," Ayers said. "We're beginning to come together as a team. We're trusting each other as teammates, and we're really showing a lot of improvement."
Babin led Nicholls with 17 points, while Jasmine Hopkins added 10 points.
Lamar, which held a 35-34 rebounding edge, dominated inside, outscoring Nicholls 46-16 in the paint. Lamar also forced 21 Nicholls turnovers that resulted in 17 points.
"Defense has been the biggest factor in our last three games," Hays said. "The offense was already there. When we play defense the way we did today and the previous two games, it helps the offense. We're scoring off turnovers."
The Lady Cardinals return to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday with a Southland Conference game at Southeastern Louisiana. Lamar comes back to the Montagne Center to host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 2 p.m. Feb. 18.