Cardinal basketball embraces final games of season

Thai Williams and Chanissey Fowler finished 1-2 in the 60-meter dash.
Thai Williams

While the Lamar Lady Cardinals are sitting pretty with a 20-6 overall record and 13-3 in league play, having guaranteed spot in the Southland Conference Tournament, their counterparts on the men’s side still need to win to get in.

By losing a 75-68 home game Feb. 25 to Houston Baptist, the Cards fell to 16-13 overall and 8-8 in conference.

LU will host Nicholls (14-15, 7-9) in its final home game of the regular season Thursday, March 2, at 7 p.m. The Cards, who will celebrate senior night by honoring Lincoln Davis, Marcus Owens and James Harrison, need a win to qualify for the postseason SLC Tournament.

Tickets to the final home game will sell for $1.

“This is something that both coaching staffs wanted to do,” said LU Director of Athletics Jason Henderson. “We receive incredible support from our fans, and we wanted to do something to say thank you. This provides families the opportunity to watch a game in a fan-friendly environment at a discounted rate.”

Lamar beat Nicholls 87-76 on the road back on Jan. 21 and got a game-high 18 points from sophomore Nick Garth.

The Cards final game of the regular season will come Saturday, March 4, when they travel east on I-10 to play McNeese State at 3 p.m. Lamar had no problems in the first matchup, beating the Cowboys 77-57 with 20 points from junior Colton Wiesbrod.

The Southland Conference Tournament begins Wednesday, March 8, and will again be held in the Merrell Center in Katy.

The Lady Cards will play their final game of the regular season before the men on Saturday in Lake Charles, Louisiana, against McNeese State at 1 p.m. LU won the first matchup 79-57 on Feb. 4 as senior Kiandra Bowers scored a game-high 30 points.

Lamar will receive a first round bye in the SLC Tournament, which begins for the women on March 10 at Merrell Center.

Baseball

Lamar University Baseball jumped out to an early lead, but No. 21 Texas was able to overcome it and take advantage of free passes when the Longhorns downed the Cardinals 9-5 at UFCU Disch-Falk field in non-conference action Feb. 28.

Freshman Cole Coker put the Cardinals on top 3-0 with a blast to the right field bullpen in the second inning, but the top three of LU’s starting lineup was 0-11 with five strikeouts.

The Cards (6-3) will travel to South Texas this weekend to play three games in Edinburg at UT-Rio Grande Valley from Friday, March 3, through Sunday March 5.

They return home Tuesday, March 7, to host Rice at 6 p.m.

Track & field

High Point Scorer Thai Williams stole the show with 28 total points and led the women’s squad of the LU track and field program to a runner-up finish to wrap up the 2017 Southland Conference Indoor Championships, hosted in Birmingham, Alabama, at the CrossPlex on Feb. 23.

Williams was Lamar’s second women’s high point scorer in the last three seasons, following Verity Ockenden’s 24 points in 2015, and overall, Williams is the fourth. The women’s team total 97 points and was only beat by Sam Houston State’s 127. The men’s team scored 30 points and took seventh place.

“I thought (the women) had the right mentality all day long. We executed and had very little adversity,” said head coach Trey Clark. “People just executed and performed. When things go right for you, it just starts to snowball. It gets to a point where the next athlete up is expecting the same kind of result.”

Williams – who took the crown in the women’s long jump – started her triple jump routine, but took a break to go run in the women’s 60-meter dash, in which she set a new personal best and picked up her second gold medal on a 7.47 mark. She and teammate Chanissey Fowler went neck-and-neck to grab the first and second spots on the podium; Fowler tied her career mark of 7.48.

“Thai is a competitor and is always on. In the sixth jump of the long jump, she hit the big one, and I think from there the confidence grew for her,” said Clark. “This league is a sprint league; those schools expect to win in sprint points. To go in there and go one-two was something we had to do to be a podium team. Watching (Williams and Fowler) go out compete was fun to watch. Nerve-wracking, but fun.”

Williams was Lamar’s first 60-meter dash and long jump champion.

After she returned to the triple jump runway, she went on to claim the silver medal on her sixth and final jump of 40 feet, 4 inches.

Overall, the Cardinals won 12 medals and All-Conference selections between both teams. The final count was four golds, five silvers and one bronze medal.

Two women’s distance runners went on to claim medals, Evelyn Chavez and Jannika John. Chavez was crowned with a gold medal in the mile run after a personal best 4:56.83 time.

John – who won silver in the 5000 meters – won silver in the 3000 meter, as well. She ran her event in 9:55.19.

On the men’s side, Tylen Guidry was the silver medalist in the men’s triple jump on a 49 foot, 8.25 inches leap. He beat his previous personal best by nearly 2 feet.

Brian O’Bonna won silver in the men’s long jump and went on to get bronze in the long jump. He saved his best for last and scored on a 49 feet, 5.5 inches jump, also his career best at Lamar.

Dominique Taylor scored points in the women’s 60-meter hurdle finals with an 8.52 second race, which broke a school record she set during the preliminaries.

“I was very, very proud of Dominique. At the same time, I was disappointed for her because it didn’t turn into a medal,” said Clark. “The school record is a consolation, not the ultimate prize. Her performance was very big for us. It was a team effort from start to finish.”

The Cardinals open their run for a Southland Conference Outdoor championship at the Texas Southern Relays on March 17. Prior to that, for those that qualify, the NCAA Championships will be hosted March 10-11 in College Station.

Soccer

Women’s soccer coach Steve Holeman announced that nine student-athletes have agreed to play for the Cardinals starting in the 2017 season.

Two of the student-athletes, Amelia Fullmer and Kelso Peskin, are junior college transfers. Both will have two seasons of eligibility remaining. The other seven signees will have four years of eligibility.

“This is an exciting day for Lamar University women’s soccer,” Holeman said. “Our staff has worked very hard to put together an exceptional group of young women who will be tremendous representatives of our University. This recruiting class is very talented, athletic and dynamic. They will provide incredible balance and depth and have the ability to make us better right away.”

Those who signed are Amelia Fullmer (transfer from Iowa Western College), Kelso Peskin (Tyler Junior); Lina Gomez (Bogota, Colombia); Brittany Harris (Langham Creek); Ali Hebert (Lumberton); Madison Ledet (Nederland); Hailey Loupe (PN-G); Sophia Manibo (Beaumont Kelly); and Juli Rocha (Bogota Colombia).

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