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TAMUC – Sports

Lions battle before dropping exhibition game at UT Arlington

ARLINGTON – The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team dropped its season-opening exhibition game, 74-45, at the UT Arlington Lady Mavericks on Wednesday morning. 

After a tightly-contested first half in which they trailed, 29-27, the Lady Mavs pulled away in the third quarter. The loss does not count towards the Lions’ overall record this season, while UTA starts at 1-0. 

A&M-Commerce begins Division II play in December, with the Lone Star Conference opener in Austin on December 18 at St. Edward’s. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– They held the Lions to 23.1 percent shooting for the game, including five made three-pointers.

– Dyani Robinson (Cypress) led the team with 12 points, four boards, two assists, and a pair of swipes on the defensive end.

– Chania Wright (DeSoto) and DesiRay Kernal (Newton, Kan.) were also in double-figures, contributing 10 points each.

– Kernal also led the team in rebounding with six of the team’s 34 rebounds.

– A&M-Commerce managed to force 18 turnovers – 15 of them in the first half – and limited UTA to 44.3 percent shooting, including lows of 38.5 percent in the first quarter and 29.4 in the fourth.

– A&M-Commerce was efficient in sharing the ball, dishing out eight assists on 15 made field goals, good for 53-percent in an assist to field goal rate. 

HOW IT HAPPENED

UTA started the game on a 6-0 run before the Lions could trim the lead down to 6-5, eventually taking a 9-8 lead. Both teams would go on shooting slumps north of three minutes, and A&M-Commerce’s defense would pressure the home team into nine early turnovers. The Lady Mavs would hold the 11-9 after the first quarter of play. 

The second quarter was one of the runs, starting with UT Arlington going ahead at 19-12 before the Lions roared back and tied the game on four different occasions. Wright used her speed and quickness off the bounce to put five quick points on the board and igniting another level of fight from the visiting team. The Lady Mavericks scored three of their last five field goals in the paint and their first three-pointer of the day to retake the lead at the half, 29-27. 

Seven different Lions scored in the first half, with Wright leading the way with eight points (five in the final minutes in half) and Robinson not far behind six. The defense was the name of the game in the first half as A&M-Commerce shot just 25.7 percent from the floor but forced 15 turnovers thanks to its suffocating full-court press and half-court trap. 

The Lions’ offense could not keep pace with the Lady Mavericks in the third quarter as they experienced a drought of seven-plus minutes without scoring a field goal. UTA used that time to go on a 14-1 run and take a commanding 54-39 lead into the fourth and final quarter. 

In the final quarter of play, A&M-Commerce was held to six points, all of them coming inside the paint. The Lions were also scrappy on the boards to close things out, crashing the glass for five offensive rebounds.