Women’s Basketball: Preview vs. St. Mary’s

Jordan Ader, Sports Reporter

Lion win Salute | Photo by Joseph Miller

By Jordan Ader | Sports Reporter

Texas A&M-Commerce will play St. Mary’s at 6 p.m. at the Field House in the second matchup of a two-game home stint.

Lion guard Princess Davis and forward Ekaterina Zhibareva lead the Lions in scoring with 11.8 points per game and guard Chania Wright is a close second with 11.5. Zhibareva has also grabbed a team-leading six rebounds per game and Davis sets the pace for the Lions with 13 assists.

In their last matchup, the Lions defeated the previously undefeated St. Edward’s Hilltoppers 86-79 in overtime in the Lions’ home opener. A&M-Commerce controlled the game for most of the contest, but St. Edward’s was able to put together a fourth-quarter comeback and send the game to overtime. A&M-Commerce again regained control of the game and coasted to a nine-point victory.

Lion Women’s Basketball (2-2):

The Lions has faced some stellar defense this season as they were held to 36 percent shooting from the field in their first three games. Against St. Edwards, though, A&M-Commerce caught fire from the field with a 43.5 field goal percentage, their best mark of the season so far, while shooting at 31.3 percent from behind the arc. They also set team season-highs with 19 steals, 21 offensive rebounds and 46 total rebounds.

Zhibareva led the team with 17 points and Wright hit a few key threes down the stretch in overtime to finish with 15 points. Davis, who reached 1,000 career points early in the second quarter, was second in scoring with 16 points while leading the Lions in assists (four) and steals (six). Guard Mykiel Burleson grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the team while earning a 13-point double-double.

St. Mary’s Rattlers (4-1):

St. Mary’s is coming off a hot shooting game from behind the arc as they made half of their 18 threes against Southern Nazarene University in a 56-47 win. They’re efficient shooters, shooting 42 percent in all field goal attempts while making 38.5 percent of their three-point attempts.

In their matchup against A&M-Commerce last season, St. Mary’s came away with the win on their home floor in a 59-57 overtime thriller in what was a defensive game overall. Both teams shot just over 34 percent from the field, had 10 steals, and earned 15 or more points off turnovers. St. Mary’s didn’t have a great game from behind the arc, but their 27.8 percentage on three-point shots was the difference-maker in the game as they made two more threes with only one more attempt than the Lions.

Players to watch:

#12 Princess Davis (TAMUC) – Davis, a redshirt senior, is the orchestrator of the Lions’ offense. The WBCA All-American leads the team in steals, assists, and shares the top spot in points per game with Zhibareva with 11.8 points per game.

#24 Ekaterina Zhibareva (TAMUC) – A senior from Liske, Russia, Zhibareva has been a dominant force in the paint for the Lions this year. She leads the team in both offensive and defensive rebounds with 19 and 24, respectively. She also gets to the free-throw line often, her 14 makes on 18 attempts are second to only Davis.

#14 Arysia Porter (St. Mary’s) – The senior guard is a close second in scoring for her squad with 16 points per game while shooting 42.7 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from behind the arc. She also averages six rebounds per game and leads the team by far with 22 steals.

#12 Kaitlin Walla (St. Mary’s) – Walla, a redshirt senior guard, leads the team with 16.8 points per game while shooting the lights out wherever she’s playing.  She’s 46 percent shooting on the season, but her 48.8 percent mark from behind the arc is even more impressive. She’s also very efficient from the free-throw line as her 83.3 free throw percentage leads the team for those with more than one free throw attempt.

Matchup: Game time is set for 6 p.m. in the A&M-Commerce Field House. Fans can catch the game on KETR 88.9 FM or www.ketr.org, the Lion Sports Network.