LaCombe takes her game to McNeese

By Chris Quebedeaux

SPORTS EDITOR

EUNICE – Second-chance opportunities don’t come along often and that is a fact not lost on Iota’s Candace LaCombe.

So it is no wonder that when McNeese State approached her again, the former Iota High School standout jumped at the opportunity to play for MSU, signing a national letter of intent to play basketball for the Cowgirls beginning in the fall.

“The chemistry between the players and the good coaching staff made my decision (easy) to come to McNeese,” said LaCombe, who was recruited out of high school by McNeese but instead opted to sign with LSU-Eunice.

Already on head coach Brooks Donald Williams’ radar, LaCombe improved her stock at LSUE by averaging 20.4 points per game last season. She scored 611 points and ranks in the top five in four different categories in the Lady Bengal record books.

“Candace had an incredible season in her first year at the collegiate level,” said Williams. “She battled and adjusted extremely well at LSUE. She thrived being able to play her true position as a shooting guard and ‘go-to’ scorer on the wing.”

During her prep career, LaCombe played a vital role in helping lead Iota to back-to-back state titles, a No. 9 ranking in the USA Today, No. 16 rating in Sports Illustrated and an undefeated (43-0) season in 2006-2007.

“I’ve enjoyed watching Candace play for a long time and I know that she will be an excellent addition to our program,” said Williams. “Candace is a competitor. She’s handled challenging situations unbelievably well as a player and a teammate. We are proud she has chosen to be a Cowgirl.”

At LSUE, LaCombe finished tops in the country in several categories, including free throw percentage. The 5-foot-11 guard shot 86.8 percent from the charity stripe on 197 attempts and set a national all-time career mark for consecutive free throws made this season, hitting 52 straight. She shattered the previous mark of 28 set during the 1996-97 season.

LaCombe also ranks No. 10 in the nation in scoring and No. 38 in 3-point percentage. She led LSUE in 3-pointers made with 86 while helping guide the Lady Bengals to 19 victories before falling one game short of the NJCAA National Tournament.

“I am really happy for Candace,” said LSUE coach Michael Bari. “She gave us a great season and will have a successful career at McNeese. We wish her the best and we will miss her.”

According to Williams, LaCombe will replace 3-point threat and first team All-Louisiana scoring guard Shante’ Perry who completed her senior season as the Cowgirls’ leading scorer.

“Candace can flat out shoot it,” said Williams. “She gives us something we haven’t had and that’s size on the perimeter at the shooting guard spot.”

LaCombe joins the 2009 Miss Basketball recipient, Kylie Leonards of Fairview High School and Liz and Kat Kingham of Grandlake to round out McNeese’s 2009 recruiting class.

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