Hot start carries Lions to seventh-straight win, Burton now program all-time leader in LSC wins.
COMMERCE– The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team defeated Texas Woman’s 78-63 on Saturday afternoon. The Lions got out to a big lead in the first quarter and never trailed in the game.
The win brings the Lions to 10-4 on the season and 5-1 in the Lone Star Conference. With Angelo State’s loss against West Texas A&M, the Lions are now tied for first place in the LSC standings. The Pioneers fall to 5-9 on the season and 2-4 in league play.
The Lions will return to action on Thursday with a road game against West Texas A&M. The game will be played at 5:30 p.m. at First United Bank Center in Canyon.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– Four Lions scored in double figures, led by 17 points from Chania Wright, who made seven field goals, including three three-pointers. She also had three steals.
– Agang Tac (Sachse) had her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 14 rebounds. She was a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor, and eight of her rebounds came on the offensive end.
– Princess Davis (Shreveport, La.) scored 15 points and passed out seven assists, also collecting two steals.
– Ekaterina Zhibareva (Liske, Russia) scored 15 points with six rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and two steals.
– The Lions shot 45.5 percent from the floor, making 30-of-66 field goals. TWU made 23-of-49 shots (46.9 percent).
– A&M-Commerce out-rebounded the Pioneers by a 37-27 margin. Both teams had 18 defensive rebounds, but the Lions had 19 offensive boards to TWU’s nine.
– Despite playing at a size disadvantage, the Lions had a 48-26 scoring margin on points in the paint.
HEAD COACH JASON BURTON AFTER THE GAME
– On becoming the program leader in LSC victories: “It’s great to be able to coach here. I get to work with great people every day, and I get to coach the best players. This team has been special. It’s a blessing to be able to coach these kids. It’s awesome.”
– On the Lions’ big game in the post against TWU: “They continue to elevate their game. We had two key pieces out today. It affected our depth at the post spot versus a really big team. Guards had to play bigger today, Kate and Tac had to play extended minutes, and I challenged Tac to go get 15 rebounds – she got me 14 and got close.”
– On the Lions’ hot streak: “I like this club a whole lot because there’s a lot of different things you can do with this team. We’re very deep, and it showed today. Alexis Bryant has been a key for us lately, and she was out. A lot of what she does doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. She’s been a great post defender and really helped our guards out. To not have her in this game and still win by double figures and pretty much control the game, it says a lot about our team. They keep finding ways to get better.”
– On the upcoming schedule: “We’re about to go on a tough stretch. We’re in a four-way tie for first place, but you’ve got to go play two of those teams you’re tied with. It’s a very tough week on the road.”
– On the play of Agang Tac: “She’s impressive. She kind of came out flat in the second half, and I got on to her a little because what she does is bring energy. When she’s playing hard with energy, she’s such a good player. She makes it so tough for other teams, because when she’s not getting the rebound, she’s in there tipping it to somebody else, and she’s guarding well. When she came back after I subbed her out, the fire was lit again, and she was scoring well too. When that offensive side comes on for Tac, she’s scary, and you saw that today.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Lions got off to a quick start, scoring the first 10 points of the game. Tac had two early field goals as the Lions built a lead. It was part of an opening 14-2 run for the Lions. A&M-Commerce did not allow TWU to make a field goal until the five-minute mark of the quarter. TWU hit consecutive shots and cut the Lion lead in half. Davis hit a late floater in the lane to send the Lions into the second quarter with an 18-10 lead.
Wright opened up the second quarter with a three as the Lions pushed their lead to double figures. Wright found her stroke in the quarter as she scored eight points in the first four minutes of the quarter. Zhibareva continued to battle low for the Lions as she also filled the stat sheet. At halftime, the Lions held a 36-25 lead.
The Lion defense forced 18 TWU turnovers in the first half, which led to 16 Lion points. A&M-Commerce also controlled the paint, scoring 26 points inside. Zhibareva led the team with 10 points in the half. Wright and Davis both had eight, with Davis leading the way with four assists.
The Pioneers scored two early threes to cut the Lion lead in half early in the third quarter. Davis then got on a roll, scoring two driving layups and a three-pointer. Midway through the third, the Lions held a 13-point lead. Wright and Jones had threes down the stretch as the teams continued to trade buckets. The Lions took a 57-46 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Lions scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter to push their lead to 15 points. The teams traded buckets throughout the quarter, and the Lions left with the double-digit victory.
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