Weekend of basketball on tap at Lamar

Kevin Booze and Kiara Desamours (inset)

It will be a weekend full of Lamar basketball beginning Thursday, Dec. 17, with the Lady Cards (2-6) hosting Texas A&M-Kingsville at 7 p.m. The men (5-4) will host Jarvis Christian on Friday, Dec. 18, at noon then Texas Lutheran on Monday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m.

The Lady Cards will squeeze in a road game Sunday, Dec. 20, at Missouri at 2 p.m., and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.

The Lady Cards lost a home game Dec. 13 to Canisius, 59-57. Freshman Kiara Desamours registered her first career double-double. Desamours had 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds for the Lady Cardinals, who saw their seven-game home-court winning streak that dated back to last season come to an end. Freshman Khali Pippins-Tryon had a career-high 13 points for LU, while freshman teammate Chastadie Barrs snatched a career-high 11 rebounds.

“We have three freshmen who are really stepping up,” LU coach Robin Harmony said. “You can see the improvement every game. We need other people to step up, as well. We outrebounded them 42-40. It’s been a while since we’ve had a rebounding edge. That’s a good sign.”

LU senior JaMeisha Edwards had a game-high 20 points for the Cardinals. It was the sixth straight double-digit game for Edwards, and the third time in the last four games she has netted at least 20 points.

“We need JaMeisha to score at least 20 points for us to have a chance,” Harmony said. “She’s doing that for us, but we need some of our other veteran players to contribute, as well.”

Fans attending Thursday’s game are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Toys For Tots campaign. Those who bring a new toy will receive a voucher for a free ticket for a future LU home game.

Men’s basketball

Junior Marcus Owens gave the Lamar University men’s basketball team 12 points off the bench, and freshman Nick Garth continued his streak of double-digit scoring games, but the Cardinals struggled against a hot shooting Virginia Tech squad, losing on the road last Sunday, 88-53.

“We didn’t see the competitive side from our guys today that we normally see,” said head coach Tic Price. “But we played a team today that has played so much better than any other team we have seen. We never got into a flow, offensively. Virginia Tech won all of the effort areas. We are still growing as a team. We ran into a buzz saw today, but the important thing is that we learn from this.”

The Hokies shot 49 percent from the field, including a 38-percent performance from beyond the arc, but cooled off in the second half. Virginia Tech raced out to an early lead and took a 28-point lead into the locker room at halftime after shooting 54 percent from field, including 6-of-12 (.500) from three-point range in the opening half.

The Cardinals struggled to an 8-of-26 (.308) performance in the opening 20 minutes, which included only two three-pointers. Big Red was also hurt by early fouls; starting point guard Kevin Booze had two fouls in less than four minutes, and five Cardinals had two fouls at the intermission.

Volleyball

Junior Lamar University outside hitter Nicole Parish was named to the Academic All-Southland Conference first team as an automatic selection, and gave the Cardinals a first-team pick for the third-straight season, the league announced along with its Volleyball Student-Athlete of the Year.

Parish, who sports a perfect grade point average as a kinesiology major, earned her automatic selection after she was picked to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District in November.

“Nicole approaches her academic pursuits the same way she does her athletic pursuits. She’s very diligent, shows up prepared and does the extra work,” said head coach Alan Edwards.

“I think most of that has to do with the fact that she’s found what she wants to do. She’s not in school just to be in school,” he said. “She goes to the classroom and to practice every day to prepare herself for the future.”

The London, England, native finished the 2015 season with a plus-1.00 per set mark in both digs and kills. She accumulated averages of 1.42 kills per set and 1.26 digs.

Parish played in 28 matches and started 15 for Big Red; she played in 89 sets. The junior also added 0.44 blocks a set to her numbers.

“There’s no finish line to excellence, and that is the way she pursues her jobs in the classroom and in the gym,” said Edwards.

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