LAKE CHARLES, La. — The old cliche of it being hard defeating a team three times proved to be true as Lamar University’s women’s basketball team had a tough matchup against McNeese in their first matchup of the Southland Conference Tournament. This game would require overtime, but ultimately, Big Red had key clutch plays to sweep the Cowgirls 80-75. It also marks 13 straight wins against McNeese for the Cardinals.
Akasha Davis stood out for LU with her 16th career double-double with 25 points and 14 rebounds on eight-of-13 shooting. Portia Adams started the game with 11 first quarter points, but would settle for 17 points for the game while R’Mani Taylor (12 points) and Sabria Dean (11 points) scored double-figures and dished out four assists. LU finished the game with 45.0% from the field.
The Cardinals overwhelmed the Cowgirls in the first quarter outscoring them 24-14. Adams and Davis would combine for 20 points in the quarter. But at first, the Cardinals found themselves up 7-4 before stretching the lead to 11-4. While the Cowgirls cut the deficit to 16-12 with 1:13 to go, the Cardinals finished the quarter with a 8-2 run. LU converted 56.3% from the field.
With LU up 27-18 90 seconds into the second quarter, the Cowgirls cut the deficit to 27-22. Five straight points by Dean led LU to a 32-22 lead. But over the final four-and-a-half minutes, McNeese trimmed the lead to 36-29 by halftime. LU managed 50.0% from the field in the quarter.
Big Red opened the third quarter with a 6-2 run to bring back the double-digit lead at 42-31. They would keep their possession lead up three or four throughout the remainder of this quarter as they kept McNeese to within seven points at 48-41. Davis netted seven points in the quarter to get to 21 points while R’Mani Taylor got six in the quarter as with a 45.5% field goal shooting percentage quarter, the Cardinals led 57-47 going to the final 10 minutes.
But the Cowgirls refused to give up as with eight-and-a-half minutes to go and still down 10, they fought back to within three points at 63-60. A quick two by Taylor extended the lead to five, but the Cowgirls got four straight points to trail 65-64. Davis would make a key assist to Adams for a two-point lay-up with 42 seconds to go. McNeese then tied the score at 67 with a three and held LU on defense to head into overtime.
Each team traded leads in the overtime session, but then came three key moments for LU. With LU up 71-70, NJ Weems took a charge and forced an offensive foul leading to McQueen knocking down a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 73-70. While McNeese knotted the score again with a three, the Cardinals fed their senior in McQueen again as she knocked down the go ahead three-pointer. LU’s defense forced a Cowgirl miss and it was Weems who netted the basket for a 78-73 lead. Big Red added free throws by Dean before the Cowgirls made the final score of 80-75 respectable.
LU is now set to meet up with #2 Texas A&M Corpus-Christi tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., in the conference tournament semifinals.