LIONS WEATHER THE STORM FOR A 73-69 VICTORY AT THE FIELD HOUSE
A&M-Commerce 73, Southeastern Oklahoma 69
Location: The Field House • Commerce, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (2-0); Southeastern Oklahoma (1-3)
Up Next: vs. Texas Woman's • Wednesday, Nov. 28 • 7 p.m. • The Field House
COMMERCE, Texas – A&M-Commerce once again raced out to a commanding halftime lead, but this time had to weather a late rally by Southeastern Oklahoma before handing the Storm a 73-69 defeat at the Field House. A&M-Commerce improves to 2-0 on the year and extends its winning streak to three games, dating back to last season.
Four Lions finished in double figures, led by 13 points from both Breanna Harris and La'Tisha Hearne. Harris, the Lone Star Conference Offensive Player of the Week, notched her second double-double in as many games, finishing with 13 rebounds and a pair of steals with Hearne posting six rebounds and a block.
Danielle Dixon and Aubree Butts each finished with 11 points for the Lions as Butts recorded her first career double-double, notching 10 rebounds with three assists. Dixon had a game-high five steals with four assists for A&M-Commerce.
Devin Oliver just missed hitting double-digits as well, knocking down nine points with three assists while Amber Carver added eight points, six rebounds and four blocks, providing a force in the paint for the Lions. Kourtney Briscoe added six points and a game-high six assists for A&M-Commerce as well.
Coming off its dominating season-opening victory against Southern Arkansas, A&M-Commerce used that same game plan to pull away from the Savage Storm midway through the opening half. Leading 19-16, the Lions mounted a 12-2 to build a 13-point cushion at 31-18 with just over five minutes remaining in the opening half.
After allowing Southeastern Oklahoma to pull to within eight at 31-23, A&M-Commerce extended its lead to 15 at 40-25 off a jumper by Harris before heading to the locker room with a 40-27 advantage.
The momentum carried over into the early part of the second half as the Lions notched five of the first seven points, extending its cushion to 16 at 45-29 early in the second and appeared on the brink of putting the game away.
But Southeastern Oklahoma wasn't going down quietly. Trailing by 14 at 55-41 with 11:07 remaining, the Savage Storm used a 15-3 run to trim the Lion lead to just two at 58-56 with 6:54 to play, setting up an exciting sprint to the finish line.
After pushing its lead back to six at 64-58, Southeastern Oklahoma used its consistency at the free throw line to continue to whittle away at the A&M-Commerce advantage. Shooting 83.9 percent from the free throw line, including 88.9 percent in the second half, the Savage Storm pulled to within one on three separate occasions, the last of which came at 69-68 with 1:37 remaining.
A layup by Butts with just under a minute to go pushed the lead back to three at 71-68, then a rare missed free throw by the Savage Storm gave the Lions just the amount of momentum they would need as free throws by Butts and Briscoe sealed the 73-69 victory for A&M-Commerce, its first over Southeastern Oklahoma since 2008 and snapping a seven-game losing skid to the Savage Storm.
Both teams struggled from the floor as the Lions shot 38.9 percent, slightly better than the Storm's 37.3 percent. A&M-Commerce was just 5-of-20 from three point range (25.0%) with Southeastern Oklahoma hitting just 5-of-17 (29.4%). But it was the Savage Storm's free throw shooting that kept them in the game, hitting 83.9 percent for the game compared to just 54.5 percent for the Lions.
Bailey Welch led the way for Southeastern Oklahoma, finishing with 19 points, including 3-of-6 from three point range, while Emily Williams added 14 and Ronay English finished with 11 points. Taylor Richards also had a strong effort for the Savage Storm, finishing with nine points, eight rebounds and five assists.
A&M-Commerce now sets its sights on Lone Star Conference play as the Lions tip off the 2012-13 conference season this Wednesday, November 28, hosting rival Texas Woman's at the Field House. Opening tip against the Pioneers is set for 7 p.m. with live video and live statistics available at LionAthletics.com.