Women's hoops opens at Oklahoma State

GO CARDINALS Robin Harmony makes her debut as Lamar women's basketball coach on Friday.
Robin Harmony makes her debut as Lamar women's basketball coach on Friday.

Nov. 6, 2013

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BEAUMONT, Texas - Robin Harmony debuts as the 14th coach in the history of Lamar University women's basketball at 11 a.m. Friday as the Lady Cardinals open the season at nationally ranked Oklahoma State.

Harmony, who came to Lamar after six successful seasons at St. Thomas, knows the Cardinals will have their hands full with the Cowgirls, who are ranked 21st in the preseason Associated Press poll and 24th in the USA Today Sports women's basketball coaches poll.

Both teams finished with 22-11 records last season, advancing to postseason play. The Cardinals made it to the second round of the Women's Basketball Invitational, while the Cowgirls were eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

"We have to play our style of basketball," Harmony said. "There is going to be a large crowd and it's going to be loud. We can't be intimidated. We have to stay poised."

The Lady Cardinals return three starters from last season's squad, including a pair of second-team preseason All-Southland Conference selections in guard Gia Ayers and forward Dominique Edwards.

"Dominique and Gia will have to step up and lead us," Harmony said. "How they go, we go."

Ayers averaged 8.0 points per game last season and led Lamar with 126 assists. Edwards was second on Lamar in scoring at 9.8 points per game to go along with 7.0 rebounds per contest.

Oklahoma State features a pair of honorable mention preseason All-Big 12 selections in guard Tiffany Bias and forward Liz Donahoe. Bias averaged 12.0 points per game last season and handed out a team-leading 216 assists against 126 turnovers, earning honorable mention All-American status along the way. Donahoe averaged 15.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for the Cowgirls last season.

Oklahoma State center Marisha Wallace was named the Big 12's preseason newcomer of the year after transferring to OSU from NOC-Enid, where she averaged 17.6 and 7.1 rebounds per game.

Both teams lost their top scorer from last season. Lamar looks to replace its all-time leading scorer in Kalis Loyd, who averaged 17.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last season. The Cowgirls need to fill the void left by honorable mention All-American Toni Young, who averaged 16.0 points and 10.1 rebounds per outing.

"Oklahoma State is a good team, but we shouldn't be scared," Harmony said. "All five of our starters have experience. We have to maintain our composure."

Lamar is 19-25 all-time in season openers, including an 0-2 mark when opening the season at Oklahoma State. Lamar is 0-5 all-time against the Cowgirls, with the last meeting occurring on Nov. 12, 2007, a 91-54 Oklahoma State home victory.

The 13 previous Lamar coaches are a combined 5-8 in their Lamar debuts.

Friday's game will be aired live on www.LamarCardinals.com. The Cardinals open their home season at 7 p.m. p.m. Monday against Our Lady of the Lake. For ticket information, call (409) 880-1715, or visit www.LamarCardinals.com.

Listen to the game here




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