A&M-Commerce 69; Eastern New Mexico 59
Location: The Field House – Commerce, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (6-8, 4-5 LSC); Eastern New Mexico (3-14, 2-7 LSC)
Up Next: vs. Tarleton State – The Field House – Saturday January, 26 – 2:00 p.m.
Commerce, Texas – The A&M-Commerce Lions fended off a late rally by Eastern New Mexico to come away with a double digit win, 69-59. With the win the Lions improve to 6-8 overall and 4-5 in Lone Star Conference play. The loss drops Eastern New Mexico to 3-14 and 2-7 in LSC play. The four conference wins surpassing the three, coach Nicole Anderson had coming into this season.
The Lions came out with an attacking aggressive defense in the first half against Eastern New Mexico and it paid dividends. The Lions forced 11 turnovers, including eight steals and converted those into 13 point. When Eastern did not turn the ball over they were struggling to hit shots against the Lion defense; only shooting 26.1% (6-23) from the field and 0-5 from three.
Balanced attack fueled the Lion offense in the first half with eight of the 10 players who logged minutes scoring at least one basket. Breanna Harris, La'Tisha Hearne and Symone Brown led the way with six points each. Shanekqua Bibbs had five including a triple and Danielle Dixon added four.
The Lions shot the ball well from behind the three-point line, hitting three of seven threes for a 42 percent clip. That marks just the third time all season shooting over 40 percent from distance in a half. The other two occurrences were against Cameron and Southeastern Oklahoma State.
Eastern New Mexico figured out the Lion defense in second half shooting 50 percent from the field on 15-30 along with 10-15 from the charity strip. Shamprea Henderson came off the bench in the second half to score 14 of her 16 points. The Lions helped the cause by making only one third of their shots in the final 20 minutes.
After Eastern cut the lead to single for the first time since the 10:44 mark of the first half to make it 63-55 after a Jordyn Cooper three pointer the Lions used timely free throw shooting over the last two minutes. Hearne, Harris and Ashlee Johnson all hit key free-throws down the stretch.
Breanna Harris continued her consistent scoring with her 16 point performance. That marks her fifth straight game in double figures and 11 overall this season. Harris added 11 rebounds to give her sixth double-double on the season.
Freshmen forward Symone Brown notched a career high 12 points along with one assist. Hearne finished the afternoon with 10 points and seven rebounds. Hearne's 10 gives her six double figure scoring games this season. Johnson filled the stat sheet with four points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
The Lions have six days off before they return to the court at the Field House next Saturday January 26 against the first place Tarleton State TexAnns. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m. followed by the men as part of a double header.