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TAMUC – Sports

The No. 18 Lions pull away late for a 71-66 win at Angelo State.

SAN ANGELO – The No. 18 Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team scored the game’s final seven points to pull out a 71-66 win over Angelo State University in the Junell Center on Sunday afternoon. 

The Lions move to 8-1 overall and 8-0 in Lone Star Conference play, Angelo State falls to 1-6 overall and in league play. It marks a three-game winning streak against ASU for the third time in A&M-Commerce history and the third Lion win ever at the Junell Center. 

A&M-Commerce will play a North Division series against Texas Woman’s University next week, starting with a home game at 5 p.m. Thursday. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

The Lions shot 40.0 percent (26-of-65) in the game compared to 46.0 percent (29-of-63) for Angelo State but had key advantages in rebounding and free throws. A&M-Commerce had a 47-32 rebounding edge and made 14 free throws to the Rambelles’ two.

– Dyani Robinson (Cypress – Langham Creek) led all scorers with 22 points and also had six rebounds and three assists.

– DesiRay Kernal (Newton, Kan.) scored 13 points and had nine rebounds. She had a key three-pointer and free throws in the final minutes of the contest.

– Juliana Louis (Long Beach, Calif.) earned a double-double with 12 points and ten rebounds.

– The Lions converted 20 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points. 

ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH MARKEITH BROWN AFTER THE GAME

On holding off the ASU comeback: “We’re confident in what we do, and we know basketball is a game of runs. We knew they would make a run at us. But we were diligent, stuck to the game plan, and prevailed. The defense on that last possession showed that defense and rebounding were the keys.” 

On the critical interior play from both teams: “Yesterday we had 50 points in the paint, and I knew that would be a focal point for them today. They stacked the paint today, but we were diligent about putting the ball back in the paint and rebounding. We had 20 offensive rebounds, and that gave us 19 second-chance points, and that put us over the hump.” 

On the scoring of Dyani Robinson: “She is special, and she’s letting the world know she’s special. She’s going to continue to do that and get her due.” 

HOW IT HAPPENED

After a slow start Saturday, the Lions exhibited no such delay on Sunday, quickly jumping out to a 6-0 lead on baskets from Kernal, Ravae Payne (Pearland), and Louis, with a pair of steals aiding in the early lead. Robinson scored four straight points later in the period, and the Lions took a 21-10 lead after the first quarter thanks to 58.8 percent shooting (10-of-17) in the period. 

The Lions saw their lead shrink to four points during the second quarter, as A&M-Commerce missed six straight shots at one point while Angelo State made consecutive three-pointers. TAMUC answered with five straight points to push the lead back out to nine points. Louis scored the final three points of the half, and Angelo State did not score in the final 2:13 of the period, allowing the Lions to take a 35-26 halftime lead. 

At the break, A&M-Commerce had made 15-of-35 shots (42.9 percent), but only 27.8 percent (5-of-18) in the second quarter. Robinson led all scorers in half with 13 points, while Louis had six points and seven rebounds. 

The Rambelles were the hot-shooting team in the third quarter, as the home team made 9-of-14 shots in the frame compared to 5-of-15 from A&M-Commerce. Because of that shooting differential, the Lions’ lead shrunk to three points on three different occasions. The Lions led 48-45 with 10 minutes to play. 

In the fourth quarter, Angelo State quickly tied the game for the first time since the tip, but the Lions were able to push the lead back out to six points after consecutive baskets by Agang Tac (Sachse) just before the midway point of the quarter. The Rambelles were able to take the lead after a pair of consecutive three-pointers, and the hosts had a two-point lead with 1:21 to play. 

Kernal erased the lead with a three-pointer, and strong Lion defense down the stretch kept Angelo State off the board. Kernal and Louis each made a pair of free throws to seal the weekend sweep for the Lions in the final seconds.

Lion men place second, women 14th at Washburn Open.

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce track and field teams competed in their second meet of the 2021 indoor season at the Washburn Open, with the men’s team tying for second in the team standings and the women placing 14th. 

Dorian Andrews (Dallas – Skyline) was the runner-up in the men’s 60-meter hurdles, improving his provisional qualifying mark at 8.09 seconds, ranking fifth nationally. Cameron Macon placed fifth in the event at 8.23 seconds. 

Lamarion Arnold (Montgomery, Ala.) was the champion in the men’s 200-meter dash at 21.32 seconds. Delan Edwin (St. Lucia) placed seventh in the men’s 60-meter dash at 6.90 seconds and seventh in the 200-meter dash at 21.87 seconds. Nicodemus Rotich (Eldoret, Kenya) earned points for the Lions in both distance events with a sixth-place finish in the men’s 3,000 meters run at 8:38.19 and a seventh-place finish in the men’s 5,000 meters run at 15:13.72. 

In the field events, Micky Ferdinand (Micoud, St. Lucia) tied for runner-up honors in the men’s high jump with Dakari Hill (Orlando, Fla.) as both Lions cleared the bar at 1.94 meters (6′ 4 ¼”). Ferdinand was also seventh in the men’s pole vault at 4.61 meters (15′ 1 ½”). Trayveon Franklin (Montgomery) earned a personal best in the men’s triple jump with a provisional qualifying mark at 14.79 meters (48′ 6 ¼”), which was good for third place. He also placed fifth in the men’s long jump at 6.86 meters (22′ 6 ¼”). Ryan Amador (Jonesboro, Ark.) placed seventh in the men’s shot put at 15.25 meters (50′ ½”). 

The Lion men also placed fourth in the 4×400 meter relay at 3:18.48. 

Atiana Alexander (San Antonio – Taft) earned points with a sixth-place finish in the 400-meter dash at 59.81 seconds on the women’s side. Two women earned points in the shot put, with Iniuto Ukpong (Mansfield – Summit) placing third at 13.07 meters (42′ 10 ¾”) and Candesha Scott (Grenada), placing fifth at 12.79 meters (41′ 11 ½”). 

The Lions have one weekend of action remaining in the regular season before the Lone Star Conference Championships. A&M-Commerce will have split-squad action in Kansas on February 12 & 13 at the Gorilla Classic at Pittsburg State and the Ichabod Invitational at Washburn.

Fourth-quarter run pushes No. 18 Lions to 81-67 victory at Angelo State

SAN ANGELO – The 18th-ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team used a 16-3 fourth-quarter run to pull away for an 81-67 victory at Angelo State University on Saturday afternoon in the Junell Center. 

A&M-Commerce moves to 7-1 overall and 7-0 in the Lone Star Conference with the win, while Angelo State is now 1-5 overall and in league play. 

The two teams will meet again at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in San Angelo to complete the LSC series. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– The win was the Lions’ first victory in San Angelo since 2015 and only the second in the Junell Center, which opened in spring 2002.

– Dyani Robinson (Cypress – Langham Creek) led the Lions with 21 points and added five rebounds.

– Asiyha Smith (Conway, Ark.) netted 14 points, including three key three-pointers.

– DesiRay Kernal (Newton, Kan.) had 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

– The Lions shot 47.6 percent (30-of-63) in the game, including 55.2 percent (16-of-29) in the second half. 

ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH MARKEITH BROWN AFTER THE GAME

Overall thoughts on the game: “Coming off a road trip like we did and coming out of quarantine, our team was a little fatigued and mentally drained, and we started off kind of slow and picked it up at the end. We played a great defensive quarter in the fourth quarter. Hopefully, we can take that fourth quarter on to tomorrow and play all four quarters like that.” 

On adjustments at halftime: “We had to be patient. We were playing too fast – we try to play fast, but we were playing too fast and not taking advantage of what they were giving us. We had to slow down, play patiently on offense, and attack the boards. When we locked in and started rebounding, we were able to get some second-chance points and get to the free-throw line.” 

On the play of Juliana Louis and Agang Tac: “Those young ladies are very disruptive defensively and can defend the one through the five and it gives a lot of different teams trouble and makes it hard for them to score. They do so much for us.” 

On the play of Asiyha Smith“She hit two big threes for us. We wanted to switch it up a little and give us some more energy on the defensive end of the floor. She gave us that and knocked some big shots down.” 

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Lions fell behind by six points in the early going as ASU’s Sawyer Lloyd scored the home team’s first eight points. A&M-Commerce fought back quickly with a seven-point run capped by a three-pointer by Smith to give the Lions a 9-8 lead with 5:14 to go in the quarter. The Rambelles scored six straight points to retake the lead, as the Lions went four minutes without scoring. TAMUC closed the quarter on consecutive baskets by Keekee Nowlin (Bryan) and Kernal to trail 16-15 after the opening period. 

The Lions took the lead on the first possession of the second quarter before Angelo State made two straight three-pointers. The Lions used strong defense in the latter stages of the quarter to push to a halftime lead. A&M-Commerce scored the half’s final six points to take a 32-29 lead into the intermission. The Lions held ASU off the scoreboard for the final 3:52 of the half as the hosts hit only 2 of 12 shots to close the period. 

A&M-Commerce shot 41.2 percent (14-of-34) in the opening half, and Ravae Payne (Pearland) and Kernal shared the Lion scoring lead at the break with six points apiece. 

TAMUC quickly pushed ahead to a seven-point margin on Robinson’s three-point play just two minutes into the quarter. That margin was still there with 4:42 left in the quarter before Angelo State went on a 13-4 run to tie the game in the final minute and a half of the period. ASU hit a three-pointer at the horn, sending the game to the last quarter in a 51-all deadlock. 

Angelo State regained the lead in the opening minute of the final frame, but the Lions went on a 16-3 run to blow the game open. The Lions led 68-56 with 3:48 to play on a Tac layup. Angelo State kept shooting from deep to cut the lead to single digits, but six Lion free throws in the final minute sealed the win.

No. 18 Lion women’s basketball set for LSC weekend tilt at Angelo State.

COMMERCE – The nineteenth-ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team embarks on a weekend road trip to take on the Angelo State Rambelles on Saturday and Sunday. Both games begin at 3:30 pm. 

WHO: A&M-Commerce at Angelo State

WHERE: San Angelo, Texas | Junell Center

WHEN: 3:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday, January 30 & 31

RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 6-1 overall and 6-0 in LSC play, and ASU is 1-4 overall and in the LSC

RANKINGS: A&M-Commerce sits at No. 18 in the D2SIDA poll while Angelo State is unranked.

TELEVISION/LIVE VIDEO: LSC Digital Network

LIVE AUDIO: Lion Sports Network — KETR 88.9 FM, Commerce (http://www.ketr.org)

LIVE STATS: http://statbroadcast.com/events/statmonitr.php?gid=tame 

Going into the year

Seventh-year head coach Jason Burton leads A&M-Commerce (6-1, 6-0) and comes off a record-setting 2019-20 season with a lions’ share of firsts for the program. The defending LSC Coach of the Year and his staff led the Lions to a program-high 28-3 record along with the first 20-win Lone Star Conference season for the program. The end of this successful run is one the Lions and their fans will wonder “what could have been” after CoVID-19 brought an abrupt end to the postseason. 

The Lions maintain a roster with a mix of new faces and experienced ones. Two returning starters are at the forefront, with a duo of double-digit scoring guards in WBCA Honorable Mention Third All-American WBCA and All-LSC Second Teamer Chania Wright (Desoto), and LSC Freshman of the Year and Third Team All-Conference selection Juliana Louis (Long Beach, Calif.).   

The latest

With the postponing of more of the Lion games rather than playing the past two weeks, A&M-Commerce still has two straight wins dating back to a midweek road contest at Cameron (89-71) as well as a home game against Arkansas-Fort Smith (76-70). TAMUC boasts the LSC’s top-scoring offense, putting up 77.9 per game while being led by the Dyani Robinson (Cypress), who scores 19.5 points per game. DesiRay Kernal (Newton, Kan.) sits third on the conference in scoring with 16.9 points per game among those players who qualify. The Lions are currently set forth in the South Central Regional rankings and are first in the North Division in the conference. 

Notes to consider

The weekend looks to entail some LSC leaders in several categories on both sides between the Lions and the Rambelles. As a team, the edge on paper goes to the visiting A&M-Commerce women’s basketball team. They rank first in the conference in scoring with 77.9 points per game, their second-leading scorer is in the top three bucket getters in the conference, and TAMUC holds their foes to 65.3 points, which is less than what ASU averages per game. 

The Lions feature a quad of scorers averaging in the double figures each time out on the floor. Robinson above and Kernal lead the squad with 19.5 and 16.9, respectively, while Wright adds 11.6 per game and Louis scores 10.8 points per contest. The LSC’s top-10 stat leaders in various categories littered with women in the blue and gold. Kernal is third in field goal percentage (39-of-74, 52.7 percent), and Wright is efficient and hits more shots than others from beyond the arc, ranking eighth in both three-point efficiency and three pointers made per game. She also has quick hands, grabbing 2.7 steals per game. That number is good for seventh in the conference. The Lions have a dynamic duo down low that both rank in the top-10 in blocked shots per game, Agang Tac (Garland) in fifth with 1.4 and Jordyn Beaty (Woodville) with 1.1 in seventh. Tac is the leader on the boards for the Lions grabbing 6.6 rebounds each game, and that is good enough to be No. 10 on the LSC leader board.

Both squads show the ability to put up north of 70 points on any given night so far this year, but it is the Lions who lead the Rambelles in every statistical category so far this year outside of rebounding. ASU holds the edge on the glass heading into the game, 41.8-to-40.6. TAMUC is 4-0 this season when winning the rebounding battle, 1-0 when tied, but 1-1 when their opponent leads that category. A&M-Commerce will look to push the pace to cause turnovers and easy baskets. They have the edge over the Rambelles in steals per game (12.6-to-6.6) and points off turnovers (22.7-to-13.4). 

On the opponent…

The Angelo State Rambelles (1-4, 1-4) finished last year with a 18-10 record, 14-8 mark in the LSC. Head coach Nate Harris in in his third year leading the ASU program after spending the previous four seasons at Montana State where he led the team to back-to-back Big Sky championships. Last season ended with a 91-65 loss against No. 3 Lubbock Christian on March 5 in the LSC Tournament despite receiving an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament before the event was canceled.

ASU has the leading rebounder in the conference, Madeline Stephens who grabs 10.0 per game. Sawyer Lloyd is also a top-10 scorer for the Rambelles offense heading into this battle averaging 14.0 points per game when she takes the court this weekend. She also leads the team and is second in the conference in 36.6 minutes per game. 

On the series history…

A&M-Commerce and Angelo State have met 57 times prior to the game on Saturday afternoon. The Rambelles own the series 34-23 and have won three of the past four, but it is the Lions who took the previous matchup in ASU territory, 78-67.

Lions open season ranked No. 9 in NFCA Coaches’ Poll.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team will begin the 2021 season ranked ninth nationally by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, as announced Wednesday. It marks the 34th consecutive poll in which they rank A&M-Commerce in the nation’s top 25. 

The Lions completed the shortened 2020 season with a 16-7 record overall and a 5-3 record in Lone Star Conference play. The Lions never lost to an unranked team during the 2020 year. 

The Lions finished the season as the second-ranked team in the nation in fielding percentage while also ranking in the top 25 in the country in earned run average and walks and hits per innings pitched. The Lions led the LSC in fielding percentage and lowest team ERA during the season. 

The Lion pitching staff finished the year with a 2.55 ERA, with 171 strikeouts while holding hitters to a .182 batting average. The Lion offense hit .288 on the year, averaging 4.5 runs per game with a .369 on-base percentage and 47 stolen bases. 

The Lions open the season on February 5 and 6 with four games against Arkansas Tech and Texas A&M International. 

A&M-Commerce has seven teams in the preseason top 25 on this year’s schedule, all slated to be home games. No. 1 Southern Arkansas, No. 3 Augustana, No. 4 UT Tyler, No. 5 Angelo State, No. 13 Oklahoma Christian, No. 18 Rogers State, and No. 19 Lubbock Christian are all scheduled to visit the John Cain Family Softball Complex. 

They will release the second NFCA Division II Coaches Poll on February 17. 

2021 NFCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll
January 27 (Preseason)

Rank School Points 2020 Final Record 2020 Final Ranking
1 Southern Arkansas (16) 400 22-2 1
2 North Georgia 381 23-4 3
3 Augustana 358 16-3 4
4 UT Tyler 354 17-3 5
5 Angelo State 318 19-6 7
6 Young Harris 314 19-3 6
7 Saint Leo 312 23-7 8
8 Rollins 280 21-3 9
9 A&M-COMMERCE 260 16-7 10
10 Trevecca Nazarene 258 15-3 11
11 Concordia Irvine 238 17-5 13
12 Valdosta State 196 18-5 15
13 Oklahoma Christian 179 21-5 16
14 Saint Anselm 168 16-4 12
15 Winona State 166 13-7 NR
16 Lenoir-Rhyne 164 20-4 21
17 Southern Indiana 141 15-4 19
18 Rogers State 136 21-8 17
19 Lubbock Christian 109 20-6 18
20 UAH 101 15-8 25
21 Indianapolis 86 14-5 RV
22 Lincoln Memorial 83 16-5 14
23 West Chester 66 12-3 NR
24 Tampa 38 19-9 RV
25 Grand Valley State 23 13-3 RV

Receiving Votes: Minnesota State (18), West Liberty (18), Francis Marion (9), MSU Denver (9), Biola (8), St. Cloud State (5), Central Oklahoma (2), Texas A&M -Kingsville (2).