ROUND TWO: Lions renew old LSC rivalry with SWOSU in Regional Semifinals
COMMERCE – After earning a lead as large as 24 points in last night’s regional quarterfinal, the 11th-ranked and third-seeded Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team plays an old Lone Star Conference foe in the regional semifinal Saturday. They take on 19th-ranked and second-seeded Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
WHO: A&M-Commerce vs. Southwestern Oklahoma State
WHERE: Canyon | First United Bank Center
WHEN: 7:45 pm on Saturday, March 13
RECORDS: A&M-Commerce is 14-3, Southwestern Oklahoma is 17-3
SEEDS: A&M-Commerce is the third seed. SWOSU is the second seed.
LIVE VIDEO: Lone Star Conference Digital Network
LIVE AUDIO: Lion Sports Network — KETR 88.9 FM, Commerce (http://www.ketr.org)
The Lions won the regional quarterfinal against the sixth-seeded Southern Nazarene on Friday night, 70-64. It was the Lions’ first NCAA Tournament win since 2007. The Lions are now 4-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. DesiRay Kernal (Newton, Kan.) led all scorers with 21 points and seven rebounds on 8-of-15 shooting. Juliana Louis (Long Beach, Calif.) scored 14 points, and Dyani Robinson (Cy-Creek) scored 10 points. Agang Tac (Sachse) had a game-high nine rebounds as the Lions held a 49-40 rebounding edge over the Crimson Storm. The Lions shot 38.1 percent (24-of-63) from the floor, while Southern Nazarene shot 35.3 percent (24-of-68)
The Lions lead the league and rank seventh nationally in offensive rebounds per game at 17.4, as well as holding LSC leads in rebounds per game (43.69), scoring offense (75.4), rebounding margin (+8.7) and free throws made and attempted entering the NCAA tournament.
Two Lions are in the top five in the LSC in scoring – Robinson is fourth at 16.3 points per game, and Kernal is fourth at 15.8 points per game. Wright ranks 20th in the league at 12.0 points per game. Louis is sixth in the LSC at 7.6 rebounds per game, and Kernal is seventh at 7.6 rebounds per game, while Tac is 15th at 6.0 rebounds per game. Louis and Kernal each makeover 80 percent of their free throws. Tac averages a block per game.
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 Lady Dawgs are led by the Great American Conference Player of the Year Makyra Tramble, who led the league in scoring (19.1 ppg), three-point field goals made (56), and steals (78) this season while ranking second in rebounds (9.8 RPG) and fourth in blocked shots (19). Tramble was a four-time GAC Player of the Week as a sophomore and recorded nine double-doubles, which also led the conference and ranked 17th nationally.
Behind Tramble, the Lady Bulldogs have three other players averaging double figures in Karly Gore (14.6 ppg), Bethany Franks (10.9), and Lauren Ramey (10.7). Gore was named a Second Team All-GAC selection as a sophomore, and she opened the GAC Tournament with a monster game of 26 points and 13 rebounds, both of which are career-highs. At the 2019 Elite Eight, Franks made the All-Tournament Team enter her third NCAA Tournament appearance as NCAA Division II’s active leader in steals with 297 for her career. Ramey had a string of six straight games in double figures snapped in the GAC Semifinals. Leading the Lady Bulldogs their last time out was sophomore Regan Crawford, who scored a career-high 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including hitting 3-of-4 three-point attempts.
SWOSU was defeated by Southern Nazarene in the GAC semifinals, 88-74, as Southern Nazarene shot 56.1% from the field and knocked down ten three-pointers. SNU is the two teams’ only common opponent this season, with the teams splitting the series 2-2. Two of the Bulldogs’ three losses this season are to the Crimson Storm.
The Lions’ made their fourth qualification for the NCAA Division II Championship and third season in a row. The Lions now have a 4-2 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. The second-seeded Colorado Mesa eliminated the 2019 Lions in the regional quarterfinals.
It is the 21st meeting between the two former LSC rivals. SWOSU has a 12-8 lead in the all-time series but has not played since 2011. The Lions are 6-3 in Commerce, and the ‘Dawgs are 7-2 in Weatherford, with the site unlisted for two games. It is the first meeting on a neutral floor.
Perera’s high jump national championship highlights a double podium and spectacular day at NCAA Indoor Nationals.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Led by a record-breaking national champion, the Texas A&M University-Commerce track and field team took two spots on the podium and advanced two runners to the Saturday finals at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday.
Ushan Perera (Mahabage, Sri Lanka) earned the high jump national championship for the Lions, and Micky Ferdinand (Micoud, St. Lucia) was the bronze medalist. Dorian Andrews (Dallas _ Skyline) advanced to the finals in the men’s 60-meter hurdles, and Minna Svaerd (Karlstad, Sweden) punched her ticket to the women’s 400-meter finals.
Perera had another record-breaking performance to earn the Lions’ sixth-ever Indoor National Championship. On his second attempt, he cleared 2.26 meters (7′ 5″), five and a half inches higher than silver medalist Brayden Sorensen of Nebraska-Kearney.
That clearance establishes new records for A&M-Commerce and Sri Lanka, breaking his records set at the Lone Star Conference Championships two weeks ago. This mark also ties the fourth-highest clearance in Division II history.
Ferdinand claimed the bronze medal by clearing 2.09 meters (6′ 10 ¼”), sharing third place honors with Deveyonn Brown of Minnesota State.
With this double podium finish, the Lions earned 15.5 team points, which is good for fourth place in the team standings after Friday’s action.
Andrews won his heat of the 60 meter hurdles at 7.95 seconds, which was the first time he broke eight seconds this season. He takes the third seed into Saturday’s finals, which will run at 2:30 pm.
Svaerd won her heat in the 200-meter dash, but a timing malfunction prevented an excellent time from being recorded. She advanced to the eight-woman finals based on her performances, which will run at 6:20 pm Saturday.
All-Time NCAA Division II Indoor National Champions
Ushan Perera, high jump (2021)
DeVontae Steele, triple jump (2018)
Luis “Ricky” Romero, 800m (2016)
DeVontae Steele, triple jump (2016)
Third-seed Lions survive and advance with 70-64 victory over sixth-seed Southern Nazarene.
CANYON – A second-quarter surge by the No. 11 Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team provided enough cushion for the Lions to hold off a late rally by Southern Nazarene University. They earn a 70-64 win in the NCAA Division II South Central Regional quarterfinal on Friday evening.
The Lions move to 14-3 overall on the season and face second-seeded Southwestern Oklahoma State in the regional semifinal at 7:45 pm Saturday at West Texas A&M’s First United Bank Center.
It marks the first NCAA Tournament win for the Lions since the 2007 team went to the Elite Eight.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– DesiRay Kernal (Newton, Kan.) led all scorers with 21 points and seven rebounds on 8-of-15 shooting.
– Agang Tac (Sachse) had a game-high nine rebounds as the Lions held a 49-40 rebounding edge over the Crimson Storm.
– The Lions shot 38.1 percent (24-of-63) from the floor, while Southern Nazarene shot 35.3 percent (24-of-68)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Lions started and ended the first quarter with mini-runs. After A&M-Commerce scored the first four points of the game, SNU found its way back. Ravae Payne (Pearland) hit a three-pointer, and a pair of free throws before a five-point run by SNU gave the opposition their only lead of the game at 13-12 with three minutes left in the quarter. Louis made a pair of buckets, and a Tac free throw gave the Lions a 17-13 lead after a quarter.
A&M-Commerce stepped on the gas early in the second quarter to surge ahead. The Lions scored nine points in less than two minutes, with Kernal netting seven of those to stake the higher seed out to a 26-13 lead. SNU was able to narrow its deficit down to 10 points before Louis went on a personal 6-0 run. Robinson hit a jumper just before the buzzer, and the buzzing Lions headed to the locker room with a 41-27 lead.
The third quarter exhibited the Lions’ defensive prowess, as Southern Nazarene did not connect on a field goal for the first 6:38 of the quarter. It allowed A&M-Commerce to push the lead out to 24 points with 3:48 left in the frame at 54-30. The Storm found their stride late in the quarter with a 7-0 run, but Chania Wright (DeSoto) hit a jumper just before the horn to send the Lions to the fourth quarter with a 58-37 lead.
That significant lead would be necessary, as the Crimson Storm lived up to the second word in their nickname. SNU shot 11-of-17 in the quarter with 18 points in the paint. Conversely, the Lions made only four field goals and had half of their turnovers for the game in the fourth. The Storm cut the lead to five in the final seconds, but the Lions could fend off their foe to survive and advance.
The No. 3 Lions turn up the juice on offense for pair of 10-run wins at Western New Mexico.
SILVER CITY, N.M. – The No. 3 Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team extended its winning streak to eight games with a pair of run-rule victories over Western New Mexico University Friday afternoon.
The Lions won 12-2 and 19-9, with each game completed in five innings.
A&M-Commerce is now 12-4 overall, and 6-0 in Lone Star Conference play, while Western is 1-5 overall and in the league.
The Lions will play at UT Permian Basin in Odessa on Sunday with a noon doubleheader.
Patience at the plate paid off for the Lions in the opening game as they tied a program record by drawing 14 walks. Five Lions had multiple walks, led by three from Samantha Dutton (Tulsa, Okla.).
The Lions plated eight runs in the top of the first inning, with Uxua Modrego (Burlada, Spain) driving in three runs and the last three runs scoring on walks.
The scoreless streak ended at 34 innings with a two-run Mustang homer cutting the lead to 8-2 in the first, but Kinsie Hebler (Cy-Fair) answered with a tw-run bomb of her own in the fourth. Mackenzie Dugi (St. Hedwig – East Central) brought home a run with a sacrifice fly, and Alyssa LeBlanc (Katy) closed out the scoring with a solo homer in the fifth.
Emily Otto (Lamar Consolidated) earned the win in the circle, striking out seven.
Madison Schaefer (Frisco – Independence) led off the game with a solo homer to lead an offensive onslaught. She went 3-for-3 with two homers and a walk, driving in three and scoring four.
Serina Aguilar (Spring – Woods), Modrego, LeBlanc, and Hebler all had two RBIs in the 19-run outpouring of offense. The 19 runs were the fourth-most scored in a single game by the Lions.
LeBlanc picked up her ninth win of the season with 4.1 innings of work, allowing two runs and striking six out.
Lion women move up to No. 11 in WGCA Coaches Poll.
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s golf program moved up to No. 11 nationally in the Women’s Golf Coaches Association Division II Coaches Poll on Friday.
Since the last ranking, the Lions were the runner-up at the St. Mary’s Rattler Invitational. Three players finished in the top 10, and four were in the top 15 in that event.
The WGCA poll ranking today marks the third time the Lions have been in the national coaches poll, as they were ranked 24th in the country in February of 2020, the last before the onset of the global COVID pandemic. The Lions were 17th in the previous poll.
The Lions have three more events on the spring schedule before the Lone Star Conference Championships, with the Lion Invitational on tap at Trophy Club on March 22-23.
DIVISION II WGCA COACHES POLL
|1||Dallas Baptist (15)||375|
|21||West Texas A&M||88|
Others Receiving Votes: Grand Valley State (44); Central Oklahoma (33); Arkansas-Fort Smith (30); Central Missouri (19); Maryville (14); Midwestern State (7); Sonoma State (7); Tiffin (7); Lenoir-Rhyne (5); Lindenwood (5); Henderson State (3); Northeastern State (3); Southwestern Oklahoma State (2)