Playing with passion and energy, the Southern women’s basketball team led Lamar for more than 34 minutes Monday night. But the young Jaguars couldn’t hold off their veteran opponent down the stretch.
That’s when Kalis Loyd took over. Loyd, a 6-foot-2 guard from Sweden, scored a game-high 28 points, leading the Lady Cardinals to a 70-62 come-from-behind win over Southern at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
Loyd scored 24 points in the second half and seven in the final 3:35, when Lamar took its first lead of the night and did just enough to keep the Jaguars from catching up.
“Our kids got a little excited about what we were doing. They were forgetting to guard, and we had some miscues with the freshmen. ... It really showed in the second half,” 12th-year Southern coach Sandy Pugh said.
“I thought the other thing is, Kalis Loyd (is) a heck of a player. At her size, she can post up, she can shoot the 3, she can do a lot of things. Our whole thing this evening was, we wanted to make her sag and be a perimeter shooter, because she had an incredible first step.”
The Jaguars (1-2) led by seven points with 8:12 remaining but watched Lamar chip away. The Lady Cardinals tied the score with 5:35 left, then took the lead two minutes later on a pair of free throws by Danielle Heithoff.
Loyd added a steal and layup, followed by two more jumpers and a free throw in the closing minutes, helping Lamar (4-1) seal its third straight win.
Sophomore point guard Adrian Sanders led Southern in scoring with 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting. Post player Jamie Floyd - the only senior in SU’s starting lineup - added 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds for Southern, which made only eight of 16 free throws in the second half.
It didn’t help that Floyd picked up her fourth foul with 12:08 remaining, or that center Laneisha Stephens followed shortly thereafter.
“We’re going to grow from this. We’re a young team, and we’re trying to incorporate a lot of young players,” Pugh said. “But the one thing I saw was, we definitely have that athleticism and ability.”
Lamar trailed SU by six points at halftime, 33-27.
“I thought Southern played extremely hard,” Lamar coach Larry Tidwell said. “They have a very talented team, and Sandy’s a hell of a coach. When we came down here, we knew we were going to have to play some pretty good ball. ...
“We started out slow, not being able to hit many (shots). But we got the ball to the right people at the right time. Kalis Loyd finished it off like a big-time player.”