March 24, 2013
BEAUMONT - Senior Kalis Loyd became Lamar University's all-time leader in games played Sunday afternoon at the Montagne Center when she took the floor for the 127th time in her storied career. Unfortunately for Loyd and her Lady Cardinal teammates, that is where the number will stop as South Dakota handed Lamar a 71-48 loss in the quarterfinals of the Women's Basketball Invitational.
After sitting the first 20 minutes, Loyd started the second half with her team trailing 39-27. The forward from Malmoe, Sweden, was nursing a sprained ankle and was not her usual self as she finished with just two points and two rebounds in 12 minutes of action to close her career as Lamar's all-time leading scorer with 1,967 points. She also ranks among the top 10 in school history in rebounds, assists and steals.
Lamar, which was playing in a postseason tournament for the third time in the last four years, never wrestled the lead back from the Coyotes and finishes its 2012-13 campaign with an impressive 22-11 record. South Dakota improved to 19-15 on the year and will host McNeese State this week in a WBI semifinal game.
In addition to the end of Loyd's career, the story of the game was the Coyotes' strong first half shooting. After trailing 20-15, USD closed the half on a 24-7 run, hitting 15 of its 24 field goal attempts (62.5 percent) over the first 20 minutes.
"They came in and shot the ball really well," said LU head coach Larry Tidwell who closes his sixth season with a 128-66 record. "A lot of the shots were guarded so you give the credit to South Dakota and good luck to them in the tournament. It's just sad to end the season on that note, but a lot of teams would take our record."
Shooting proved to be a much bigger problem for the home team as Lamar shot just 32.4 percent from the floor in the first half and saw that number drop to 20.7 percent in the second. The Lady Cardinals grabbed 15 offensive rebounds to help them stay in the game, but could not overcome the cold shooting night.
USD opened the second half on a 9-3 run as Polly Harington's layup with 17:09 to play gave her team a 48-30 lead. LU Senior Carenn Baylor
, who led Lamar with 16 points and six rebounds, knocked down a 3-pointer to end the run.
Dominique Edwards hit a layup less than 30 seconds later and then converted a three-point play at the 14:26 mark to cap an 8-0 LU run that whittled the USD lead down to 10 at 48-38. That would be as close as the Lady Cardinals would get, however.
USD steadily pulled away and a Tempestt Wilson bucket at the 3:46 mark gave the Coyotes a 20-point lead at 64-44 and left little doubt as to the outcome of the game.
The Coyotes would finish the game shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and enjoyed a 41-32 rebound advantage over the more athletic Lady Cardinals. USD, which went just 5-of-15 from behind the 3-point arc, outscored Lamar 32-18 in the paint.
"It seems like when we're shooting the ball well, everything else falls into place," said USD head coach Amy Williams about her team's strong first half finish. "Anytime we can look at the stats at the end of the game and see 52 percent shooting, we'll usually take that."
Lamar was a respectable 7-of-22 from 3-point range for the game, but went just 10-of-41 from inside the arc. The Lady Cardinals forced 17 USD turnovers, but committed 13 of their own and only picked up a two-point advantage in points off turnovers (18-16).
Baylor was the only Lady Cardinal to score in double-figures as she came up one point shy of her career-high. Junior point guard Gia Ayers added seven points, five rebounds and a team-high three assists, while Asia Booker picked up four of Lamar's 10 steals in the game.
"She (Baylor) got off to a good start today and it was great to see her play well," said Tidwell. "She plays hard all the time and it was good to see Kalis get back on the floor. Kalis has been hurt and I was really worried about playing her but she really wanted to play. We appreciate what Kalis has done and appreciate what (fellow seniors) Jasmin Henderson and Bobbi Taylor have done."
Three Coyote starters scored in double-figures, led by Harrington's 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Wilson added 13 points and Nicole Seekamp finished with 13 points and six boards. Despite not scoring a point, Alexis Yackley was big with a game-high eight rebounds and nine of USD's 20 assists in the game.
After falling behind 13-6 with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half, Lamar responded with a 14-2 run to build its biggest lead of the game. LU tied the contest at 15 on a Baylor trey and Jameisha Edwards knocked down a triple to give LU an 18-15 advantage. Chantelle Brockett's elbow jumper capped the run to put Lamar on top 20-15 with 7:51 remaining in the first half.
Harrington scored a layup to end LU's run and Seekamp followed with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 20. After Ayers converted a steal into a bucket, Harrington once again scored to tie the game at 22. The Coyotes took the lead for good at the 5:18 mark of the first half as Harrington's layup made the score 24-22. USD would outscore Lamar 15-5 from that point to close the first half.