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TAMUC – Sports

Lions ready to go dancing on the hardwood with NCAA opener against the Crimson Storm

COMMERCE – The 11th-ranked and third-seeded Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team begins its run in the NCAA tournament on Friday at 5:00 pm after their runner-up finishes in the Lone Star Conference Tournament last weekend. The Lions will go head-to-head with the sixth-seeded Southern Nazarene University Crimson Storm. 

WHO: A&M-Commerce vs. Southern Nazarene

WHERE: Canyon | First United Bank Center

WHEN: 5:00 pm on Friday, March 12

RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 13-2, Southern Nazarene is 12-7

SEEDS: A&M-Commerce is the third seed. West Texas A&M is the sixth seed.

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

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

The latest

For the second-straight season, A&M-Commerce faced Lubbock Christian in the LSC Championship game, falling just short of a title. 

After their successful run in the conference tournament, the Lions ranked fourth in the South Central Region, were given the 3-spot in the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday. 

The Lions had five players named to All-LSC teams. Dyani Robinson and DesiRay Kernal were named first-team All-LSC, Juliana Louis and Chania Wright were named third-team All-LSC, and Agang Tac earned honorable mention. 

Down the regular-season stretch, TAMUC went 7-1 to wrap up the regular season-ending with a 110-81 victory over Western New Mexico. 

On the opponent

The Southern Nazarene hails from the Great American Conference, where the Crimson Storm finished third in the western division with a 10-7 record in the league. 

SNU was seventh in the conference in scoring offense at 68.9 points per game, but their defense has been their strength, limiting opponents to 66.8 points per game – good for third in the GAC. 

The Storm comes off their hot play in their conference tournament. They scored the game’s final nine points to take the title of Great American Conference Tournament Champions, 58-56, over Southeastern Oklahoma State on Sunday. 

SNU’s Abby Niehues was the GAC preeminent shot blocker and captured the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award. Her third-straight year led the conference in blocked shots, and she broke the career blocked shots record in the GAC and ranked second in Division II in total blocked shots. 

The Crimson Storm are led in scoring by true freshman Payton Jones, who ranks ninth in the conference with 14.1 points per game. 

Postseason History

The Lions’ fourth qualification for the NCAA Division II Championship is for the third season in a row. The Lions have a 3-2 record, with qualifications in 2007, 2019, 2020, and 2021. 

The 2007 Lions were the South Central Region champions and advanced to the Elite Eight with victories that year over Emporia State, Missouri Western, and Washburn by a combined six points. Second-seeded Colorado Mesa eliminated the 2019 Lions in the regional quarterfinals. 

Chania Wright (12 points, two assists) and Agang Tac (2 points, three rebounds, four steals) are the only Lions with NCAA Tournament playing experience. 

It is Southern Nazarene’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament, having joined the NCAA in 2015. The Crimson Storm was a power in the NAIA but last made that postseason in 2012. They had not won a national tournament game since 2007 when they were an NAIA Division I national quarterfinalist. SNU made the NAIA Tournament 20 times with seven national championships, a national runner-up finish, four third-place finishes, and a 58-13 postseason record. 

Lions play the first road games of 2021 Friday at Western New Mexico.

COMMERCE – The No. 3 Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team heads west this weekend for two Lone Star Conference series, starting at Western New Mexico on Friday. 

WHO: A&M-Commerce at Western New Mexico

WHERE: Silver City, N.M. | WNMU Softball Field

WHEN: Noon MST (1:00 pm CST) on Friday, March 12

RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 10-4 overall and 4-0 in the Lone Star Conference. Western New Mexico is 1-3 overall and in LSC play.

RANKINGS: A&M-Commerce is ranked third nationally in the NFCA Division II Coaches Poll.

LIVE VIDEO: LSC Digital Network

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

The latest

A&M-Commerce is on a six-game winning streak with doubleheader sweeps of then-No. 16 Rogers State, Eastern New Mexico, and then-No. 17 West Texas A&M. The last five wins have been shutouts, and the Lions are on a program-record 33.1 inning scoreless streak. 

This series marks the Lions’ first away games of the season and ends a run of 18 straight games in Commerce. The Lions have played 120 innings of softball since the last time they batted in the top half of an inning.

Alyssa LeBlanc (Katy) was the LSC Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season, going 4-0 without allowing a run and holding opponents to a .133 batting average. For the year, she leads the nation with eight wins in the circle, an 8-2 record, 1.43 ERA, and 69 strikeouts in 49.0 innings. She ranks second in the conference and fourth in the nation in strikeouts this season, with 69, only one behind the LSC leader. 

Uxua Modrego (Burlada, Spain) was last week’s LSC Hitter of the Week, leading the Lions at the plate, earning at least one hit in every game of the week with a batting average of .526. For the season, she is hitting .442 with 19 hits, 8 RBIs, and 11 runs. Her 19 hits rank eights in the LSC. 

Madison Schaefer (Frisco – Independence) ranks seventh in the LSC in hits with 20, ninth in walks with 8, 10th in batting average at .444, 11th in RBIs with 13, 11th in doubles with five, 12th in home runs with three, and 12th in on-base percentage at .528. Kinsie Hebler (Cy-Fair) leads the league in walks drawn with 13. 

On the opponent

In only four games this season, Western New Mexico is hitting .301 with 15 runs scored. The Mustangs beat Texas Woman’s in their opener, then dropped three straight. As a team, the Mustangs have a 5.68 team ERA. 

Brittany Santellanes went 8-for-11 in the Mustangs’ first weekend with three RBIs and a .769 on-base percentage. Bryana Munoz has struck out 13 batters in 15.2 innings. 

In the series history

The Lions are 10-0 all-time vs. WNMU since the Mustangs joined the LSC before the 2017 spring season. It is the Lions’ second trip to Silver City, where they picked up a three-game sweep in 2018. The Lions have either shutout the Mustangs and scored less than ten runs (twice) or won with double-digit runs and at least a nine-run margin (eight times). The Lions have outscored WNMU 142-19 in the ten meetings.

Karen Allen named Senior Woman Administrator

COMMERCE – Texas A&M University-Commerce has announced Karen Allen as Lion Athletics’ senior woman administrator in addition to her duties as senior associate athletics director for business and administration. 

“From the day she arrived three years ago, Karen has exemplified our Best in Class mission and led several key financial initiatives for our department,” said A&M-Commerce director of athletics Tim McMurray. “In addition to her work with maintaining a balanced budget each of the last three years, she also has excellent relationships with our Finance and Administration units – procurement, budget, accounting, and human resources. This appointment as senior woman administrator is both appropriate and well-deserved, as she has tremendous respect amongst her peers in our department.” 

Allen has been with Lion Athletics since May 2018, leading the financial services and administration unit of Lion Athletics. She is currently the senior associate athletics director for business and administration and sports administrator for volleyball and softball. 

“I would like to thank Tim for the opportunity to serve Lion Athletics in this capacity,” Allen said. “In the short time I’ve been in Commerce, I’ve seen first-hand the success of so many within this department, and I’m hopeful and confident I can continue to impact A&M-Commerce in a positive way.” 

She led the athletics department’s Level One audit in 2019 and directs the department’s business processes regarding purchasing, budgeting, and administration, as well as serving as the liaison to the campus community for the department strategic plan institutional effectiveness assessments. She also oversees the Lion Athletics’ Best In Class partnership with Under Armour and human resources, inventory, and gameday ticketing operations. 

Before coming to Commerce, Allen served as the associate athletics director for business & communications and senior woman administrator at Shorter University in Rome, Ga. She oversaw financial operations, sports information, and gameday management for each of the University’s 19 athletic teams. 

While at Shorter, Allen served in several capacities, transitioning into the role of sports information director in April 2013 after serving two years as a graduate assistant for athletic administration. During this time, she also helped the department transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II. 

In addition to her time at Shorter, Allen also worked for four seasons at the Rome Braves, the single-A minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, in ticket operations. 

The Mableton, Ga. native earned her bachelor’s of business administration in sport management from Shorter in 2009 before obtaining a master’s in business administration in 2012.

Lions take season sweep and clinch LSC Tournament berth with 3-1 win at DBU.

DALLAS – The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team clinched a season sweep of Dallas Baptist University on Wednesday night in the Burg Center with a 3-1 win, earning a spot in the Lone Star Conference Tournament in the process. 

Set scores were 25-15, 20-25, 25-17, and 25-15. 

The Lions are now 4-6 on the season, with two matches remaining in the regular season. DBU completes its regular season at 3-9. 

A&M-Commerce hosts Texas Woman’s next Tuesday and Wednesday to complete its regular season. Both matches will begin at 6:00 pm. 

PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

– The Lions clinched an LSC Tournament berth by the sweep of DBU.

– Should the Lions win at least one of the two matches against Texas Woman’s next week, they will be the second seed out of the Central Division.

– Should the Lions sweep TWU, DBU would be the third seed, as DBU won three of four against TWU in the season.

– TWU would need to sweep the Lions to take the second seed.

Rk School Rec THIS SEED
1 UT Tyler ^ 12-0 Hosts W2/S3
2 A&M-Commerce 4-6 Plays N3 at S1
3 Texas Woman’s 3-7 Plays N2 at W1
4 DBU 3-9 Does Not Qualify

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– The Lions hit .205 for the match with 52 kills and limited the Patriots to a .057 hitting percentage with 39 kills.

– Maddy Rashford (Placentia, Calif.) led the Lions with 13 kills, while Nicki Gonelli (Round Rock – Stony Point), Maiya Dickie (Huntsville), and Sydney Andersen (Placentia, Calif.) each had seven.

– Riley Davidson (Commerce) led the back row defense with 26 digs, while Lyric Hebert (Arvada, Colo.) had 17.

– Dickie added a team-best four blocks.

– Natalie Sarbeck (Cy-Fair) and Aislynn Shore (Hockley – Frassati Catholic) tied for the team lead with 22 assists. 

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Lions jumped out to a considerable lead early to cruise to a dominating first-set win. A 5-0 run pushed A&M-Commerce to a 9-3 lead to force a DBU timeout, followed by another 5-0 run to make it 14-4. The Lion block was ultra-efficient, scoring five points on blocks, including three by Dickie. Andersen had five kills in the set, and Destiny Greenwood (Fairfield, Calif.) had four kills without an error. The Lions hit .257 in the set with 15 kills while limiting the Patriots to a minus-.067 rate with only five kills against seven errors. 

The Patriots were the early aggressors in the second set, using a six-point run to go ahead 10-4. A&M-Commerce would score six of seven points later in the set to cut that lead to 19-17, but DBU was able to pull away and tie the match at a set apiece. 

The third set hinged on a big Lion surge after DBU led 13-12. A&M-Commerce scored nine of the next 10 points to go ahead 20-14, and another four-point run gave the Lions set point. Rashford threw down a big kill to close out the 25-17 win and provide the Lions with a 2-1 set lead. 

A&M-Commerce put the hammer down early in the fourth set with the LSC Tournament berth in sight, and the Lions roared to a 10-3 lead thanks in no small part to DBU errors on four points. A six-of-seven run pushed the Lion lead to 17-7, putting the margin nearly out of reach. The Patriots could get no closer than eight points the rest of the set, and Dickie’s kill punctuated A&M-Commerce’s season sweep.

Lions move up to No. 3 in NFCA national rankings before first road trip of 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team is ranked third nationally in the national coaches’ poll released by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association on Wednesday. 

It marks the 38th consecutive poll in which A&M-Commerce has ranked in the nation’s top 25. The second-highest the Lions have ever ranked, as they were the No. 2 nationally in February of 2019. 

The Lions are 10-4 on the year and are on a six-game winning streak, including shutouts in the last five games. A&M-Commerce pitching and defense are currently executing a 33.1 inning scoreless streak, which is a program record.

A&M-Commerce has eight teams in this top 25 on this year’s schedule, including No. 1 Southern Arkansas, No. 4 Augustana, No. 8 UT Tyler, No. 10 Oklahoma Christian, No. 12 Rogers State, No. 18 Texas A&M-Kingsville, No. 19 West Texas A&M, and No. 24 Angelo State. The Lions are currently 5-1 against teams in the national rankings. 

The Lions play their first road games of the 2021 season this weekend, playing at Western New Mexico on Friday and UT-Permian Basin on Sunday.

NCAA announces game time change for Lions’ South Central Region quarterfinal

INDIANAPOLIS – Due to a COVID-related change on the opposite side of the bracket, the game time for Friday’s NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship South Central Region quarterfinal game between third-seeded Texas A&M University-Commerce and sixth-seeded Southern Nazarene University has changed. 

The Lions (13-3) and Crimson Storm (12-7) will now play at 5:00 pm Friday at the First United Bank Center in Canyon. The Lion Sports Network will carry all NCAA Championship games live on 88.9 KETR-FM in Commerce and online at www.KETR.org. Tickets are available HERE starting at 10:00 am Wednesday. 

Coaches made the game change after the 4-5 game between Arkansas Tech. Cameron was declared a “no contest” when ATU removed itself from the Championship due to COVID protocols Tuesday. Cameron advances to the regional semifinal against Lubbock Christian on the opposite side of Lion’s bracket. As they made the team withdrawal more than 24 hours after the bracket’s announcement, the NCAA policy did not provide for a replacement team or re-seeded the regional bracket. 

UPDATED SOUTH CENTRAL REGIONAL SCHEDULE

QUARTERFINALS – FRIDAY, MARCH 12

5:00 pm – No. 3 A&M-Commerce vs. No. 6 Southern Nazarene

No. 5 Cameron advances, no contest (No. 4 Arkansas Tech withdrew due to COVID)

 

SEMIFINALS – SATURDAY, MARCH 13

5:00 pm – No. 1 Lubbock Christian vs. No. 5 Cameron

7:45 pm – No. 2 Southwestern Oklahoma State vs. TAMUC/SNU winner

 

FINALS – MONDAY, MARCH 15

6:00 pm – Semifinal winners