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Lion WBB gets big conference win vs. Tarleton State

Drew Ivery, Sports Reporter

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A&M-Commerce Huddles up during a timeout | Photo by Ashley Tuppen

By Drew Ivery | Sports Reporter

The Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions women’s basketball team knocked out the first game of a two game week as they stretched their winning streak six games after an 89-80 victory over Tarleton Tuesday afternoon in the Commerce Field House.

Both teams came out trading baskets early on with Tarleton winning the opening quarter, but the Lions  outscored the Texans 29-16 in the 2nd quarter to go into halftime with a confident 42-35 lead. Commerce shifted momentum early in the second half with a few quick steals in the first two minutes to formulate an 8-2 run to start the third quarter. Lions failed to grasp one specific milestone as they failed win by double-digits

After a 3-4 start to the season, the A&M-Commerce Lions have found consistency after a shaky beginning. A&M-Commerce (9-4) has really had it going during this win streak on the offensive side by defeating five of their last six opponents by double digits and almost did so again it this game, but fell short due to a late Tarleton basket. The Lions now lead the nation in the rebounding margin at a +12.8 differential and it showed after bringing in almost double the amount of rebounds as Tarleton 49 to 26.

“Tarleton stepped up and made a run at the end and made some big time shots,” said head coach Jason Burton. “ In a game like that, you’re just happy to walk away with a win. I thought our girls played a tremendous game. That’s a really good team right there. We got a lead and held the lead for almost the whole game, but you know a team like that is going to make a run. They’re too talented not to. We were able withstand that run because of the cushion we built for ourselves early. Out of halftime, we challenged them to come out of halftime to come out on fire, and they did that.”

Some milestones for the Lions were accumulated during this game as senior guard Princess Davis moved into 10th place in scoring in Lions women’s basketball history as she looks to eclipse former teammate Artaejah Gay who currently ranks 3rd in points. Head Coach Jason Burton continues to etch his name in the Lion record books as well as he moves up to tie former coach Denny Downing for first in coach career conference wins at A&M-Commerce with his 47th Lone Star Conference victory on Tuesday. These two could also move up in the rankings in their next game on Saturday. Davis is just over two minutes away from moving into 3rd place in minutes played for the Lions and Burton is one LSC victory away from sole possession of first place in coach career conference wins, as well as, he will also tie former coach Charles Mancil for 5th in games coached for the Lions this weekend.

The Tarleton Texans (9-4) held their own against the Lions despite the lead being as large as 23 points, they managed to trim the lead significantly late in the game and lost by single digits. Stat leaders for the Texans begin with their leading scorer and rebounder for their team in this game, senior forward Katie Webster, who tallied a game-high 24 points and a team-high six rebounds. A pair of teammates for the Texans joined Webster putting up double-digits as McKinley Bostad scored 19 points with a team-high seven assists and Mackenzie Hailey added 10 points and a team-high four blocks.

Stat leaders for Lions begin with Chania Wright who scored a team-high 21 points in the contest with five made three pointers. She had help from multiple Lions on offense as three more scored in double figures. Davis scored 18 points, Alexus Jones tallied 16 points, and Alexis Bryant added 12 points with a near double-double bringing in nine rebounds. Commerce dominated in second chance points as they had a 30-8 advantage, which came easier due to the large rebound margin. Although the Lions came away with yet another win, they are still turning over the ball at a very high rate. Commerce came into the game averaging 16.3 turnovers per game and that will increase as the Lions turned it over twenty-three times against the Texans.

Burton now leads the series vs opposing head coach Misty Wilson in their tenures through five years at 6-5 and the two coaches have a near identical record over their five seasons at their two respective schools, Wilson (79-51) and Burton (77-52). The Lions still trail in the all-time series vs the Texans 34-24.

Next Matchup: The A&M-Commerce Lions will stay at home for their next game as they look to take on Texas Woman’s in the Field House at 2 p.m. on Saturday January 12th with the game being able to be listened to on the Lion Sports Network on 88.9FM or www.ketr.org.

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Lion WBB gets big conference win vs. Tarleton State