Lady Cards earn awards, spot in SLC tournament

Guard Chastadie Barrs was named the Defensive Player of the Year

Lamar University women’s basketball coach Robin Harmony knew that this year’s freshman class was something special. The rest of the Southland Conference knows it, as well, as evidenced by the hardware collected by a pair of LU’s fantastic frosh.

Guard Chastadie Barrs was named the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year, while forward Kiara Desamours was named the Freshman of the Year. Both Barrs and Desamours earned honorable-mention all-conference accolades, as well.

“To have two freshmen win major awards speaks well for our future,” Harmony said. “Chastadie and Kiara have continued to get better. There have been several times where we’ve had four freshmen and a sophomore on the floor this season. They have gotten valuable experience this year.”

Barrs became the first freshman in Southland Conference history — men’s or women’s — to be named the Defensive Player of the Year.

“For a freshman to be named the Defensive Player of the Year is incredible,” Harmony said. “It takes a lot of heart and determination to play defense game in and game out. She plays hard every night.”

Barrs, who is second in the nation in steals with an average of 4.03 per game, leads the Southland Conference in minutes played with 999. She is often matched against an opponent’s top scorer. Barrs is also a force on offense, averaging 10.0 points per game and a team-leading 3.86 assists per game.

Desamours, who was named the conference’s preseason Freshman of the Year by CollegeSportsMadness.com, leads all Southland Conference freshmen in scoring (10.9) and rebounding (7.0). She stepped it up in conference play, averaging 13.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per outing, both of which are tops among conference freshmen.

“There were a lot of expectations on Kiara when she came in, and she lived up to those expectations,” Harmony said. “Her ceiling is incredibly high. If she continues to work on her game and improve, she can accomplish great things.”

Desamours is the fifth LU women’s basketball player to be named conference freshman of the year. Brittney Williams (2007) and Tamara Abalde (2008) also received the award from the Southland Conference, while Lisa McMahon (1995) and Jwanda Roberson (1998) were honored when LU was a member of the Sun Belt Conference.

“The experience they have gotten this year is going to pay off in the long run,” Harmony said. “We have another highly rated recruiting class coming in next season. I think our future is incredibly bright. Our freshmen this year give us something to build on for the future.”

The Cardinals (11-18 overall, 7-11 Southland) are the eighth seed in the conference tournament. LU faces fifth-seeded Houston Baptist at 11 a.m. on Thursday in a first-round game at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy.

The championship game will be played Sunday, March 13, at 11:30 a.m. and televised live on the CBS Sports Network.

Men’s hoops

Freshman guard Nick Garth has been named 2016 Honorable Mention All-Southland Conference. Garth received the honor as the team’s sixth man, coming off the bench in all but six games this season.

Garth averaged better than 13 points per game (13.4 ppg). The Houston native was one of the league’s top freshmen in 2015-16, finishing the year as the league’s second-leading freshmen scorer.

Baseball

Lamar’s March 8 game with Rice was canceled due to rain, so the Cardinals will head into SLC play with a 9-4 record and travel to Northwestern State (6-5) for three games March 11-13.

LU will return home for a non-conference tilt with the University of Houston on Tuesday, March 15, at 6 p.m.

Softball

The tournament portion of the Lady Cards’ schedule is over after they went winless in the Tulsa Invitational; LU (10-8) was outscored 41-13 by Tulsa and Iowa.

Lamar has dropped its last six games and will open conference play March 11 with a three-game set at Houston Baptist.

“It was a tough weekend,” said head coach Holly Bruder. “We are going to gather up our notes, and we have to sharpen all of our tools.”

Women’s golf

Sophomore Olivia Le Roux was named the Southland Conference Women’s Golfer of the Month for February, an award sponsored by UniversalCoin.com.

Le Roux placed second at the Islander Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas, leading the Cardinals to a second-place finish in the 11-team field. Le Roux had rounds of 72, 72 and 74 for a 218 total over 54 holes. LU was the top-finishing Southland Conference school at the event, while Le Roux was the top individual finisher from the conference.

“I’m so proud of Olivia; she has already progressed so much this year,” said coach Jessica Steward. “Olivia works very hard, and she’s always willing to learn. She still has so much potential, and I’m excited to see her achievements starting to pile up.”

The Lady Cards are currently playing in the UTRGV Collegiate in McAllen.

Men’s golf

Junior Zander Gous was named the Southland Conference Men’s Golfer of the Month for February.

In the lone tournament for the month, Gous earned top medalist honors with a three-round total of 216 (78-67-71) at the James S. Litz Memorial hosted by UIW from Feb. 8-9. The junior from Mpumalanga, South Africa, helped the Cardinals finish first by nine strokes over UIW in the 11-team field.

“I’m so happy for Zander. It’s always nice to get recognized for all the hard work you have put in, and also for good play,” said coach Jessie Mudd. “It just confirms the things he’s been working on. Hopefully, he’ll get some more acknowledgements in the future.”

The Cards made it two team championships in two events this spring, cruising to a 26-shot victory at the Chaps Invitational on March 8.

Led by Gous’ 65, the lowest round of the entire tournament, the Cardinals posted a final-round total of 284, finishing the tournament with a three-round total of 849, well ahead of runner-up Western Texas College in the 12-team field.

Gous finished the tourney tying for second with a 7-under 209, two strokes behind Texas Tech’s Devin Jackson.

“I’m very proud of my guys,” said Mudd. “Zander finished with another strong round and tournament.”

The Cardinals return to action next week when they compete in the ORU/SFA Shootout in Dallas on March 15-17.

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