Cowgirls try to start new winning streak

The McNeese State women’s basketball team will look to get back into the win column when it hosts Sam Houston State in the Health and Human Performance Complex at 6:30 p.m. today.

The Cowgirls are coming off a 64-62 loss to Southland Conference-leader Lamar on Saturday. The Bearkats also lost to the Cardinals, 83-72.

SHSU has won three of its last five games, alternating wins and losses in the last four. The Bearkats’ most recent game was a 78-68 home loss to Stephen F. Austin.

McNeese (5-14, 3-5 SLC) sits 1.5 games back of SHSU (10-9, 5-4) for sixth-place in the SLC standings. A win tonight would not only move the Cowgirls closer to sixth-place, but a Southeastern Louisiana loss to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi would move McNeese 1.5 games ahead of the Lions in seventh-place.

The Bearkats, under first-year head coach Ravon Justice, come into the game as one of the nation’s best when it comes to forcing turnovers and getting to the free-throw line. They are fifth in the country in turnovers forced per game (23), fifth in free throw attempts (507) and sixth in free throws made (354).

The game potential to see a lot of turnovers on both sides of the ball. While the Bearkats excel at creating turnovers, they also commit their fair share, committing 21 per game.

Junior guard Jaylonn Walker leads the Bearkats in scoring at 14.9 points per game. She is second in the SLC in steals per game with 2.8.

Amber Leggett (11.8 ppg) and Jennifer Oramas (11.1 ppg) are the other two SHSU players averaging in double figures. Oramas also leads the team in assists per game (4.1).

For the Cowgirls to succeed against another tough SLC defense, they will have to get back to taking care of the basketball like they did in the three games leading up to the Lamar loss. Against the Cardinals, they committed 29, and during the three-game winning streak, they averaged 17.6. The 29 that McNeese committed against Lamar was the most since they turned the ball over 33 times in a loss at Northwestern State on Jan. 5.

Callie Maddox leads the Cowgirls in scoring (14.1 ppg) followed by Regan Bolton (11.8 ppg).

Last season, McNeese won the lone meeting between the teams in Huntsville, Texas, 66-63.

Sam Houston St. at Cowgirls 6:30 p.m.

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McNeese’s Regan Bolton puts in the layup during a non-conference game at the McNeese H&HP Complex in Lake Charles, La., Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

Rick Hickman