Lady Cardinals host UCA in crucial contest
Feb. 27, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas - The Lamar University Lady Cardinals host Central Arkansas to open a crucial Southland Conference women's basketball weekend at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Montagne Center.
The Lady Cardinals (18-7 overall, 10-4 Southland) are tied for second in the conference with Sam Houston State, just a half-game behind league-leading Oral Roberts, which comes to Lamar on Saturday. Lamar and Sam Houston State have four games remaining. Oral Roberts, which is at McNeese State on Thursday, has three games remaining, including Saturday's showdown at Lamar.
"This is a huge weekend for us," Lamar coach Larry Tidwell said. "These last two weeks will determine what we've been working for all season, a conference championship. That's our drive. That's our goal. That's our focus."
The Lady Cardinals have won six of their last seven, including a 59-57 victory over Nicholls in their last outing on Feb. 19 on Gia Ayers' buzzer beater.
Kalis Loyd leads Lamar in scoring (17.6) and rebounding (7.5). Loyd, Lamar's all-time leading scorer with 1,854 points, is coming off of her second consecutive double-double outing with 24 points and 10 rebounds against Nicholls. Loyd has eight double-doubles this season and 26 for her career.
Central Arkansas (14-12, 7-8) has won just one of its last seven outings after a 67-62 overtime home victory over Lamar on Jan. 26. Megan Herbert leads the Sugar Bears in scoring (19.0) and rebounding (11.4).
"We let that game get away from us," Tidwell said of the OT loss at Central Arkansas. "We didn't execute at the end."
Thursday's game features the top two defensive teams in the conference. Central Arkansas leads the SLC in defense at 54.5 points per game allowed, just ahead of Lamar's 54.6. Central Arkansas is 37th nationally in defense, one spot ahead of Lamar. The Lady Cardinals are 24th in the nation in field-goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to connect on just 34.8 percent of their attempts.
"We can't look ahead to Oral Roberts," Tidwell said. "Our minds are focused solely on Central Arkansas right now."
The overall series between Lamar and Central Arkansas is tied at six apiece, with Central Arkansas
Thursday's game is the annual Pink Out Game to promote breast cancer awareness. The Lady Cardinals will be wearing pink socks and shoelaces for the game as well as special pink shooting shirts for the pregame warmups.
Thursday's game will be streamed live on ESPN3 (http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index) and can be heard at www.LamarCardinals.com. For tickets call (409) 880-1715, or visit http://www.lamarcardinals.com/tickets/whoops-tickets.html.
Following Thursday's game, Lamar closes out the home portion of its home schedule by hosting Oral Roberts at 4 p.m. Saturday. Saturday is Senior Day as well as the Standing Ovation for Jimmy and Susan Simmons, as Lamar honors its retiring president and his wife. Tickets for Saturday's game are available for just $1 and are available at the Montagne Center ticket office and all Rao's Bakery locations in Southeast Texas as well as by phone at (409) 880-1715 and at www.LamarCardinals.com.