BEAUMONT, Texas – Two L.amar University women’s basketball players received major awards from the Southland Conference on Tuesday, as sophomore guard Chastadie Barrs (DeSoto, Texas/Desoto) was named Defensive Player of the Year, while sophomore guard Moe Kinard (New Iberia, La./New Iberia) was tabbed as the conference’s Newcomer of the Year
Barrs, Kinard and senior post player Kiandra Bowers (West Palm Beach, Fla./Dwyer) were all named second-team all-conference performers.
This is the second straight year the Cardinals have had two players receive major awards. In addition to Barrs’ Defensive Player of the Year award last season, Kiara Desamours was the Southland Conference Freshman of the Year.
“To have two sophomores win major awards speaks well for the future of our program,” LU coach Robin Harmony said. “It is great to have three all-conference selections. Chastadie, Moe and Kiandra have all been a big part of our success this season.”
Barrs, who leads the nation in steals, was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. She averages 4.71 steals per game. Her 132 steals this season are tied for the school record. Barrs also leads the Southland Conference in assists, ranking 12th in the nation at 6.7 per game. Her assist-turnover ratio of 2.40 is tops in the conference and 30th in the nation. She averages 8.7 points per game this season, including 9.4 points per game in conference play.
Barrs finished the regular season with back-to-back double-doubles. She had season highs of 18 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Nicholls on March 1, following that with 13 points and 10 assists in Saturday’s 83-67 win at McNeese as the Cardinals clinched the No. 2 seed for this week’s Southland Conference Tournament.
Kinard, who played one season at the University of Houston before transferring to LU, leads the Cardinals in scoring at 15.7 points per game, boosting that figure to 16.2 points per play in conference competition. She is fifth in the conference in 3-poionters, averaging 2.46 per game. Kinard is the fifth LU player to be named Newcomer of the Year, joining Shawnta Vanzant (2001), Darika Hill (2009), Jenna Plumley (2010) and Monique Whittaker (2011).
Kinard had two double-doubles this season and had a career-high 31 points in an 86-68 conference win over Southeastern Louisiana at the Montagne Center on Jan. 7.
Bowers, who leads the nation in offensive rebounding at 5.89 per game, averages 10.4 rebounds per game, good for 22nd in the nation. Her 16 double-doubles this season are 12th in the country. She averages 14.5 points per game overall and 15.1 points per outing in Southland play. Bowers, who suffered a season-ending injury in the second game of the 2015-16 campaign, is 15th in the nation in field-goal percentage at 59.1 percent.
Bowers scored at least 30 points on two occasions this season, including a career-high 32 points in a win at Houston Baptist on Feb. 15. She grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds on two occasions, most recently at New Orleans on Feb. 2.
The Cardinals (22-6 overall, 15-3 Southland) received a bye into the tournament semifinals by earning the No. 2 seed. LU will face an as yet undetermined opponent at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy, Texas. The championship game is set for noon Sunday.