Women's hoops head to Southern Miss

GO CARDINALS Gia Ayers leads Lamar in scoring and assists.
GO CARDINALS
Gia Ayers leads Lamar in scoring and assists.
GO CARDINALS

March 18, 2014

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BEAUMONT, Texas - The Lamar Lady Cardinals head to a postseason national tournament for the fourth time in the past five seasons when they travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., to meet Southern Miss in the first round of the WNIT at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Lamar (18-12) is in a postseason national tourney for the fifth time in the program's Division I history. The Lady Cardinals played in the NCAA Tournament in 1991 and 2010, the WNIT in 2011 and the WBI in 2013.

"Playing in the postseason is an honor. It's a celebration of a successful season," Lamar coach Robin Harmony said. "It's a great experience for our players."

Harmony knows her team has its hands full against a Southern Miss squad that went 26-6 this season. The Golden Eagles finished second in Conference USA with a 13-3 mark, advancing to the tourney title game before falling to Middle Tennessee. That loss snapped a 13-game winning streak for the Golden Eagles.

Southern Miss has the best RPI in the WNIT at 30.

"They're a tremendous basketball team," Harmony said of the Golden Eagles. "They get great guard play and they work the ball inside."

Jamierra Faulkner leads the Golden Eagles in scoring at 17.7 points per game, and leads the nation with an average of 8.5 assists per game.  Tamara Jones (14.5) and Jerontay Clemons (11.3) also average in double figures in points per game. As a team, Southern Miss is 24th in the nation with an average of 78.6 points per contest.

Gia Ayers leads Lamar in scoring at 16.1 points per game. Ayers is 33rd in the nation, averaging 5.6 assists per game.

Dominique Edwards averages 14.6 points and a team-leading 8.0 rebounds per game for Lamar, while JaMeisha Edwards (12.6) and Shauna Long (10.1) also have double-figure scoring averages for the Lady Cardinals.

"We're going to give it our best shot," Harmony said. "We need to have solid efforts from everybody."

The winner of Thursday's game advances to the second round to meet the winner of Thursday's game between Tulane and Mississippi State.

This is the fifth all-time meeting between the two schools, but the first since the 1990-91 season, when Lamar swept two games from Southern Miss.

Thursday's game will air live on KLVI (AM 560). Links to live audio and video of the game can be found at www.LamarCardinals.com.

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