March 13, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas - The Lamar Lady Cardinals open their quest for a Southland Conference Tournament championship Thursday afternoon at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy, Texas.
The Lady Cardinals (20-9 overall, 12-6 Southland) are the No. 3 seed in the tourney, earning a first-round bye. The Lady Cardinals tip off at 1:30 p.m. Thursday against the winner of Wednesday afternoon's game between sixth-seeded Central Arkansas and seventh-seeded Stephen F. Austin.
"It's time to play ball and give it all we've got," Lamar coach Larry Tidwell said. "We can't hold anything back."
Lamar will be looking for some payback against either of those teams. Central Arkansas defeated the Lady Cardinals in the semifinals of the 2011 Tournament, while Stephen F. Austin was a first-round winner over the Lady Cardinals last season.
Lamar swept the season series with SFA this season, while splitting with Central Arkansas, as each team won on its home floor.
The Lady Cardinals are led by three-time first-team All-Southland Conference selection Kalis Loyd. The senior guard from Malmoe, Sweden, is Lamar's all-time leading scorer with 1,930 points. This season, Loyd averages 17.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, both team-leading figures.
Loyd and fellow senior guard Carenn Baylor represented Lamar on the conference's all-defensive team, helping the Lady Cardinals lead the league in defense, allowing 56.0 points per game.
Junior guard Gia Ayers, who leads Lamar with 115 assists, was an honorable mention All-Conference choice.
"We need everybody to step up," Tidwell said. "Everybody has to contribute."
The winner of Thursday's game faces No. 2 seed Sam Houston State in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Friday. The championship game tips off at 1 p.m. Saturday.
All of Lamar's postseason games will air live on KLVI (AM 560). Thursday's game will be shown at www.Southland.org, while the semifinals and finals can be seen exclusively on ESPN3.
Tickets are available at the Merrell Center ticket office and at Ticketmaster outlets.
Wednesday, March 13
Game 1: No. 8 Northwestern State vs. No. 5 McNeese State (SLCDN), 11 a.m.
Game 2: No. 7 Stephen F. Austin vs. No. 6 Central Arkansas (SLCDN), 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 14
Game 3: Winner Game 1 vs. No. 4 Nicholls (SLCDN), 11 a.m.
Game 4: Winner Game 2 vs. No. 3 Lamar (SLCDN), 1:30 p.m.
Friday, March 15
Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. No. 1 Oral Roberts (ESPN3), 11 a.m.
Game 6: Winner Game 4 vs. No. 2 Sam Houston State (ESPN3), 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 16
Championship Game (ESPN3), 1 p.m.