Women’s basketball falls in final minute to Texas Woman’s, 75-69
COMMERCE – The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team lost 75-69 to Texas Woman’s University on Saturday afternoon. The game was a back and forth battle throughout, with the Lions losing the lead in the final minute of the match.
The loss brings A&M-Commerce to 10-5 on the season and 5-3 in Lone Star Conference action. TWU goes to 11-5 overall and 4-4 in conference play.
The Lions will return to action on Monday as they host Arlington Baptist for a 5:30 p.m. start at the Field House. The men’s basketball team playing against Arlington Baptist follows. Students who bring a report card with an “A” grade will receive free admission to the games.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– Khala Riley led the Lions with 19 points. She also co-led the team with seven rebounds.
– Jenna Price had a career-high 17 points, including shooting 9-of-10 from the free throw line. She also had seven rebounds.
– Brianna Wise had 16 points, going 5-of-7 from the field and 3-of-3 from behind the arc.
– After shooting 43 percent in the first half, the Lions shot 18 percent in the second half. The Lions made 23 of 30 free throws in the second half to stay in the game.
– There were nine ties and 13 lead changes in the match.
– The Lions scored 27 points off of 19 TWU turnovers.
– TWU’s Emily Spector led all scorers with 23 points. She also had a double-double with ten rebounds. Kenesha Saygo chipped in 19 points for TWU.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The game was back and forth from the get-go. The Lions scored the first two baskets, breaking through the full court pressure of the Pioneers. However, TWU quickly found its stroke. Both teams got into the painted area early, using ball movement and screens to free shooters. Midway through the quarter it was an eight-all tie.
The Pioneers took their first lead late in the first quarter, but the Lions scored back-to-back buckets to regain the advantage. Riley had a coast-to-coast lay-in, driving through traffic to get to the basket. She scored another bucket at the buzzer to give the Lions a 15-13 lead going into the second quarter.
TWU scored the first five points of the second quarter to retake the lead. The Lions struggled early on to score the basketball and fell behind by six with seven minutes to play in half.
The Lions battled back, going on a 5-0 run. A three from Wise cut the lead back down to just one. However, the Pioneers went on a run of their own to take their lead to eight points midway through the quarter.
The Lions made a late push, as the defense tightened, causing five consecutive TWU missed field goals. The Lions hit their shots and trailed 37-35 at halftime.
Wise was on fire in the first half with 13 points, making all four of her shots, including two from downtown. Riley had eight points and three rebounds. Price also had eight points. Spector had 10 points to lead TWU. Alexis Nezianya chipped in eight points and three rebounds.
The Lions shot 43 percent from the field while TWU shot 45 percent in the first half. The Lions had 17 points off of the bench. There were five lead changes and five ties in the first half.
Spector came out firing, scoring the first five points of the second half. TWU started the half on an 8-0 run, making its first three shots from deep and taking a double-digit lead with six minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Lions continued to battle, cutting the lead back down to single digits. The Lions quickly got into the bonus situation and were aided by free throw attempts. The Lions were held without a field goal for more than seven minutes, missing ten consecutive shots.
The Lions made a late surge at the end. The Pioneers went 1-of-8 from the field to end the quarter. A&M-Commerce went on a 9-2 run, capped off with a three-point play from Krystal Pickron, her first field goal of the game. The Lions trailed by two going into the fourth quarter.
Pickron made two free throws to start the fourth to tie the game up. With seven minutes to play in the match, Price drew a charge and then had an offensive rebound and putback to give the Lions their first lead since the first half, 57-56.
It was a seesaw battle to close the game, with the lead changing hands multiple times. Price had two offensive rebounds on A&M-Commerce free throws, drawing fouls of her own and knocking down her shots. With two minutes to play, the Lions retook the lead by one.
After giving up a three to Spector, Riley drove into the lane and converted a three-point play with a minute to play. The Pioneers converted a three-point play of their own to retake the lead with 40 seconds left. The Lions missed a shot and were forced to foul. The Pioneers made their free throws and closed out the game.
HEAD COACH JASON BURTON AFTER THE GAME
On his team’s play in the match:
“We didn’t start the game with the same attention to detail and focus that we have had in the past. We also didn’t do the things we normally do, like rebounding. That has been such a strength of ours. I thought we could have created more shots for ourselves by crashing the glass. I didn’t believe that we did a superb job of that. We were ball watching a lot. We needed to win the rebound battle today to win this game, and I thought we had more size than they did and we didn’t take advantage of that.”
On how the team guarded Emily Spector:
“We allowed Emily Spector to get wide open looks. She is one of their best shooters. If she is wide open and has her feet set, the ball is going into the bucket. For the most part, we did a better job on her in the second half. But if you go back, when we are up two with a minute left, and we don’t get matched up, they swung it to her at the trail spot and she got a wide open look and buried it. They went up one right there. That was such a big possession right there. If we can get a stop there, we win the game. And we would have been able to win the game not playing our best game.”
On the team adjusted to not shooting well in the second half:
“We got to the free throw line and started being aggressive again. We shot 30 free throws in the second half and made most of them. But I thought there were some down the stretch that we needed to go. We missed five in the fourth quarter, and that changed the game. When you get to the free throw line, you have to capitalize. Missing five free throws in the fourth quarter, on top of everything else, you are not going to win the game. We did put ourselves in a position to win the game while not shooting well.
On moving forward to the next game:
“We have too many games ahead of us in a short amount of time to dwell on this loss. It hurts right now because we have been playing well. We will regroup and refocus and our attention to detail will be better next game and will be better moving forward. We will learn from our mistakes today and turn it around.”