Lion Athletics excels in the classroom in Fall 2020
COMMERCE – In a semester where the CoVID-19 pandemic continued to affect everyday life and learning conditions, Texas A&M University-Commerce student-athletes had a stellar Fall 2020 semester, posting fantastic grades throughout all sports programs.
As a whole, the athletics department posted a grade point average of 3.21 for the fall semester.
“As the Chief Academic Officer of A&M-Commerce, I am excited every semester to see the academic achievements of our student-athletes. We make sure that the ‘student’ in student-athlete comes first at our university, as shown by the continued good work in the Thrower Center for Student-Athlete Success,” said Provost Dr. John Humphreys. “We are blessed to have phenomenal student-athletes, dedicated faculty, and staff, committed student success professionals, an extraordinary collaboration with every division on campus.”
With support from faculty, academic advisors, and the staff in the Thrower Center for Student-Athlete Success, the Lions were able to succeed at a sustained level. Six sports programs recorded grade point averages of 3.00 or higher in the fall semester.
“A major part of the recruiting process for us at A&M-Commerce is the distinct advantage of our student success model,” said director of athletics Tim McMurray. “That model is a combination of efforts by our student-athletes, coaches, our Thrower Center team, and our academic partners on campus. This fall’s success during a challenging time is proof of our continued commitment to diplomas, rings, and championships.”
In terms of individual academic accolades, they named 48 Lion student-athletes to the Texas A&M University-Commerce President’s List and 68 student-athletes to the Dean’s List, which both marked improvements over Spring 2020.
“I am extremely proud of our student-athletes’ Best in Class efforts in the classroom this semester as they navigated a blend of face-to-face and online learning,” said Victoria Kisluk, associate director of athletics for student-athlete success. “The support from our Provost, Division of Academic Affairs, faculty, academic success teams, department heads, and deans did not go unnoticed this semester and is a true testament to the Best In Class Experience we provide for our student-athletes. We are thankful for their involvement in the lives of our student-athletes.”
A total of 57 student-athletes made the Best In Class Honor Roll, which represents a perfect 4.0 term grade point average. Additionally, 81 Lions made the Athletics Director’s List for a term grade point average between 3.50 and 3.99, and 74 student-athletes are on the Lion Honor Roll for a term grade point average between 3.00 and 3.49. Last week, Lion Athletics celebrated 23 graduates who graduated in the fall.
Robinson and Louis sweep LSC weekly awards.
RICHARDSON – Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball players Dyani Robinson and Juliana Louis swept the Lone Star Conference’s weekly basketball awards on Monday, with Robinson earning offensive honors and Louis earning defensive honors.
Last week, the Lions started the 2020-21 season with a pair of LSC wins at St. Edward’s, defeating the Hilltoppers by scores of 85-74 and 73-62.
Robinson (Cypress – Langham Creek) powered the LSC lead in scoring average with last week’s performances. In the season opener, Robinson scored 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds. She topped that performance in the second game of the weekend, leading the team with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Her 21.0 points per game lead the league by 1.5 points, and Robinson ranks sixth in the LSC in shooting at 50.0 percent on 30 shots. She also ranks sixth in the league in steals at 3.5 per game and 16th in assists at 2.5 per game. Robinson was the 2019-20 LSC Freshman of the Year and made the all-conference third team.
Louis (Long Beach, Calif.) was dominant defensively for the Lions, as her eight defensive rebounds led the team over the weekend while she averaged 7.5 boards per game. Louis also blocked three shots and picked up five steals as the Lions held SEU to just 37.3 percent shooting from the floor. She ranks sixth in the conference with 1.5 blocks per game and 10th in the league at 2.5 steals per game. As a team, the Lions lead the league in rebounding, are second in steals, and third in blocks.
The Lions are in the holiday break period and scheduled to return to action on January 2 and 3, 2021, in the home-opening series against St. Mary’s
D-14 Ashton Duncan, Lubbock Christian
D-21 Dyani Robinson, A&M-Commerce
D-14 Anastacia Mickens, Texas A&M-Kingsville
D-21 Juliana Louis, A&M-Commerce
Lion women’s basketball rolls to a weekend sweep of Hilltoppers
AUSTIN – The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team used a 14-0 run in the second quarter to coast to a 73-62 win over St. Edward’s University on Saturday afternoon, starting the season 2-0 in Lone Star Conference action.
The Lions will take time off for the holiday break before their first home games against St. Mary’s on January 2 and 3, 2021.
HEAD COACH JASON BURTON AFTER THE GAME
On how he felt his team played: “They are a good ball club. I thought we kind of fell asleep in the fourth quarter and just assumed we would win the game and left the door open for them to come back, but we finished it out. It is tough to play two games in 24 hours, basically. And two games against the same opponent. But we did a good job on finishing out this weekend.”
On what St. Edward’s did differently from one game to the next: “The only thing they really did differently was they stopped pressing. They forced us to execute in the half-court. I don’t think we did a great job of executing in the half-court. We forced them into turnovers and scored some easy baskets that way, but we did not run our stuff exactly the way we wanted to do it. They kept their people back and forced us into some more difficult shots today.”
On Dyani Robinson’s performance: “She was the MVP of our tournament out in Colorado last year, and she stepped into that role again today and did a great job. Not only of getting us into our stuff, but scoring the ball at a high level, and then playing defense. She was playing full-court defense the entire time she was in the game and had five steals in the game – I am sure that is a career-high, and really did a good job of carrying this team.”
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– The Lions (2-0, 2-0 LSC) led on the stat sheet by Dyani Robinson (Cypress – Langham Creek), who had a career-day with her 23 points and five steals to go along with three rebounds and two assists.
– Juliana Louis (Long Beach, Calif.) was the only other Lion to score in double figures, adding 14 points, and nearly had a double-double with eight rebounds. Agang Tac (Sachse) led the team in rebounds with nine.
– A&M-Commerce was out-shot by St. Edwards (0-2, 0-2 LSC) 47-percent to 40-percent despite the Hilltoppers taking 16 fewer shots in the game.
– The Lions managed to out-rebound the Hilltoppers by a count of 41-29, went 16-of-22 from the free-throw line while dishing out ten assists and coming out with 15 takeaways.
– Both second-chance points and points off the bench dominated the Lions over the Hilltoppers, outpacing SEU 19-6, and 17-7, respectively.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The defense is the name of the game for A&M-Commerce. When the Lions took the court, it would be suffocating defense with two steals from Louis and five offensive rebounds, which propelled them on a 9-2 game-opening run. The Hilltoppers would stop the bleeding and retake the lead with a 12-2 run, taking the 14-12 lead with under three minutes to go in the first quarter. It included a scoring drought of just over three minutes for the Lions.
Four made free throws and stifling defense turned the game back in A&M-Commerce’s favor as the first quarter-turned to the second with the Lions ahead, 17-14. The Lions forced five Hilltoppers turnovers in the final three minutes, giving them ten total in the first ten minutes of the ballgame.
Robinson would put the team on her back in the first half with 16 points in the opening 20 minutes (10 in the second quarter), including a perfect 5-for-5 from the free-throw line to help the Lions build their lead into the half, 39-24. She also had two boards and a steal to fuel the road team’s 14-0 run. The Lions shot just 28 percent in the first quarter but raised their first-half shooting percentage to 42.9 percent while holding St. Edward’s to only two points in nearly the last three minutes of the half.
The scoring success continued into the second half, as the Lions went on a quick 6-0 run early in the third. A&M-Commerce has managed ten swipes in the game, six blocks, and 14 offensive rebounds in the game. The Lions and Hilltoppers both struggled offensively as the road team committed five turnovers. The home team went scoreless for over two minutes of game action after the media timeout. The third quarter came to a close with a 58-42 lead for A&M-Commerce.
In the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, the Lions outscored the Hilltoppers, 8-3. St. Edwards would close the gap with a 6-0 run and a five-plus minute made field goal drought before A&M-Commerce would finish off the game strong to claim a victory for the Lions.
Bethel’s double-double leads Lions to 85-69 win at St. Mary’s
SAN ANTONIO – Hot streaks and outside shooting led the Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team to an 85-69 victory over St. Mary’s University in Bill Greehey Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The win pushes the Lions’ record to 1-1 overall heading into the holiday break, while StMU is 0-1. The two sides meet in the first games of the new year on Saturday, January 2, and Sunday, January 3, 2021, in Commerce.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– The Lions held leads in every major statistical category, including shooting 53.6 percent (30-of-56) from the field, with a 14-of-29 (48.3) connection rate on three-pointers.
– Devin Bethely (Baton Rouge, La.) recorded a double-double with 15 points and ten assists. He is the first Lion to have a double-double with points and assists since Reggie Reid and Willie Rooks notched triple-doubles in 2018-19. His ten assists tie a career-high, which he set against St. Mary’s while playing at Tarleton last spring.
– Demarcus Demonia (Fort Washington, Md.) was the game’s high point man with 18 points while also tying for the team lead with five rebounds.
– Augustine Ene (Carrollton – Creekview) scored 10 points in the second half to quell a St. Mary’s run and help seal the Lion victory.
– The Lions out-rebounded the Rattlers 40-36 and led for more than 33 minutes in the game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The first half saw the two sides exchange runs, with the Lions starting with a 7-point surge after conceding the opening basket. St. Mary’s responded with a 9-2 run to take an 11-9 lead with 13:20 to play in the half before the Lions hit the gas.
A&M-Commerce scored 16 of the game’s next 18 points, with Bethely and Demonia each netting six points in that run. A Carson Tuttle (Mukilteo, Wash.) three-pointer at the 8:10 mark gave the Lions a 25-13 advantage. The Rattlers narrowed that margin down to six points. Still, the Lions immediately restored the double-digit lead with a pair of Alex Peavy (Smithson Valley) free throws and two Demonia fastbreak buckets.
Three straight St. Mary’s baskets brought the Lion down to a seven-point lead, but the blue and gold closed the half on a 13-3 run in the final three minutes. JJ Romer Rosario (Hialeah Gardens, Fla.), Leo Lara (Santa Rosa), and Bethely all drained three-pointers in that rally, giving A&M-Commerce a 49-32 lead at the break.
The Lions shot 58.6 percent (17-of-29) from the field in the first half, including 8-of-15 (53.3 percent) from beyond the arc. Bethely and Demonia each had 12 points at the intermission, and Bethely had already dished out nine assists on the 13 baskets he had not scored in the period.
After Rodney Brown (Beaumont – West Brook) scored on the second half’s opening possession, the Lions went cold, missing eight straight shots as the Rattlers fought back to within 10 points at 51-41 with 14 minutes to play.
Ene then took the game over for the Lions, scoring A&M-Commerce’s next 10 points in just over two minutes. That pushed Lion’s lead back to 17 points at 61-44 with 11:32 to go.
A&M-Commerce’s long-distance shooting heated up in the latter third of the period, putting the game out of reach as Lara, Bethely, Demonia, Peavy, and Niv Rozenholtz (St. Legier, Switzerland) all dialed in from the land of three. The Rozenholtz trey pushed the lead to a game-high 27 points at 85-58, and the Lions would cruise to victory.
Lion women’s basketball takes round one in road conference opener over St. Edward’s, 85-74
AUSTIN – The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team went on the road to start the regular season. The Lone Star Conference played at St. Edward’s University on Friday and picked up an 85-74 victory to start the season.
The game was the first of a back-to-back series against the Hilltoppers, with Saturday’s game set to tipoff at 2:00 pm.
HEAD COACH JASON BURTON AFTER THE GAME
His immediate thoughts after today’s game: “We have some things to work on, but the good thing is that we came out, we executed the game plan, our girls played really hard, and I am proud of the effort at the end of the day.”
On DesiRay Kernal and Chania Wright: “I told the team that DesiRay almost had a triple-double, 22-points, 11 rebounds, but she had seven turnovers. I am extremely proud of her and her effort off the bench today. With her rebounding and her tenacity in the paint, she was very effective. And Chania, from start to finish, played her tail off tonight, and that is probably a career-high in minutes and career-high in steals for her. She played a complete ballgame today.”
On how the quick turnaround will look: “So, I look forward to this quick turnaround and getting back right away. You start watching film right away and figure out what can we do a little bit better tomorrow to find a way to win again.”
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– The Lions (1-0, 1-0 LSC) leaders on the stat sheet were Kernal (Newton, Kan.), who recorded her fourth career double-double, including career highs in points (22), rebounds (11), and minutes played.
– Dyani Robinson (Cypress) also managed career highs in points (19), rebounds (8), and minutes.
– Wright (DeSoto) was the third Lion to get into the double-digit scoring column with 18 points, five assists, five steals, and one rebound.
– A&M-Commerce shot 43 percent from the floor, 38 percent from deep, and 77 percent from the charity stripe. Both teams knotted at 50 rebounds each, but the Hilltoppers (0-1, 0-1 LSC) had 30 offensive boards than just 20 for the Lions.
– The Lions managed 19 assists on 30 made field goals, for a 63 percent assist to earned field goal ratio.
– Both squads turned the ball over more than their coaches would like, 29 for A&M-Commerce and 28 for St. Edwards. The Lions added 28 points off those turnovers, thanks in part to 17 steals.
HOW IT HAPPENED
A&M-Commerce’s Wright put in the first four points of the game, but it would be a back-and-forth scoring affair as the first quarter ended with a tightly contested Lion lead, 20-19. Wright and Robinson had seven and nine early points, respectively. The Lions out-shot the home squad 62% to 33% for the quarter.
The Lions duplicated their offensive output in the second quarter, scoring 21 points once again. Wright and Robinson led the way in scoring at the half with 14 and 12-point efforts, respectively. Kernal was not far behind, scoring seven of her own. Miscues were ever prevalent as both teams had double-digit turnovers – 13 for A&M-Commerce and 15 for the Hilltoppers.
In the third quarter, the exchange of baskets continued and even intensified as the Lions outscored St. Edward’s by a score of 25-22 lead to a 67-58 score headed to the final period. Kernal hit her first three-pointer of the season to provide a swing of momentum for A&M-Commerce and joining the crew of double-digit scorers on the day. The Hilltoppers managed to make a push within nine points of the lead to close the quarter.
In the closing period, the Lions secured the victory thanks to four steals and defensive prowess the rest of the way. A&M-Commerce netted 18 points and saw their three leading scorers build on their in-game stats to secure the visiting team’s win.