The LadyKats will be traveling to Lamar University today to take on the Lady Cardinals.
The two teams met once this season already, in a Dec. 28 game that saw the LadyKats barely overcome the Lady Cardinals in a 65-61 victory.
The game wasn’t all Sam Houston, though. At halftime, the LadyKats were down by a score of 27-22.
“We really didn’t come out excited,” said LadyKats coach Erika Ritter. “Then they threw a zone defense out on us and we just weren’t attacking. It just didn’t seem like we were playing really hard on the offensive end.”
The LadyKats did pick things up in the second half, outscoring Lamar 43-34 to squeeze by with the win.
“We went on a run with about six minutes to go in the game,” Ritter said. “During that spurt, we really picked it up defensively.”
Unfortunately for the LadyKats, they will be without junior guard Stacy Allen.tonight.
Allen was averaging 16.2 points per game until she went down with a season-ending knee injury. She scored 34 against Lamar at the last meeting.
But the LadyKats have backup with their new offensive weapon, “Southland Conference Player of the Week,” freshman guard Stephanie Trachier. Trachier scored only two points when the two teams met earlier in the season, but in the last two games against Louisiana-Monroe and Northwestern State, she averaged 20 points.
“I think that the entire team stepped their game up,” Ritter said. “When you have everybody on a team playing at a higher level, it helps the individuals. I think individual goals come if the team plays as a team.”
Lamar is currently holding last place in the Southland Conference standings with a 1-8 conference record, but Ritter does not want her players to take the Lady Cardinals lightly.
“I think it’s going to be a dogfight,” Ritter said. “We’re 0-5 on the road. We’ve got to go prove ourselves on the road, and this is a great time to do it. We really have to play pressure defense, and we can’t let them get points in the paint, we have to make them shoot around the perimeter.”
The LadyKats proved Saturday against Northwestern State that they can compete with the best teams in the Southland Conference. Ritter just hopes they can bring that same intensity tonight on the road.
“It was a great team effort,” Ritter said. “We shot the ball 50 percent from the floor which we have not done all year, and that’s what championship teams do. Right now, we have everything to play for – that win on Saturday is more important I think than anybody realizes.
“To me, we’re playing the champion in the championship right now, so every game you have to win, or else you’re out of there.”