The Commerce Journal
Lions used a 50-24 rebounding edge to knock-off Abilene Christian in the Quarterfinals of the Lone Star Conference tournament in advance to semifinals on Friday to face the winner of Angelo State and West Texas game.
A&M-Commerce held Abilene Christian to only one three pointer on ten attempts and forced 18 turnovers to nock the number two seed out of the LSC Tournament.
Symone Brown started the scoring off for the Lions with a three-pointer. Both teams matched baskets for the first 10 minutes of the half. Neither side led by more two before Brown made a jumper to make it 20-17 with 9:14 left in the first half. Breanna Harris hit a jumper to make it 30-21 in favor of the Lions. Abilene Christian cut the lead to one at 32-31 with two free throws Mackenzie Lankford with 4:06 left in the opening stanza.
The lead was tied for the eighth time at 35 all after layup by Emily Miller of ACU at the 2:34 mark then the Lions scored four straight. Devin Oliver hit a three pointer with just over one minute left in the half to give the Lions a 42-37 halftime advantage. There was eight ties and six lead changes
A&M-Commerce was rolling on offense in the opening twenty minutes. The Lions shot 40 percent (14-35) and held a 25-7 advantage on the glass. Brown led the Lions with 13 points and 6 rebounds. Breanna Harris had 11 and seven. Danielle Dixon had five points, three rebounds and one block. Oliver came off the bench to chip in seven points. Ashlee Johnson had four off the bench and Sarah Duran had two.
Renata Marquez led Abilene Christian with 15 points on five of seven from the field.
The Lions extended their lead out to eight after a Dixon layup after just there minutes of play. Two Marquez free throws broke a nearly four minute drought for both teams and cut the Lion lead to 47-42 with 14 minutes to play. A Lankford jumper cut the lead to one, 54-53 with 11:59 to play in regulation.
Every time the Abilene Christian cut into the Lion lead the Lions held serve and did not give up the lead over the last 31 minutes of the game. Abilene Christian got within one possession numerous times but could not get in front of the Lions.
A Marquez three point play made it 76-74 with 1:48 to play. After back-to-back timeouts by A&M-Commerce, Harris grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it in to make it 78-74. The Wildcats’ next possession was empty and La’Tisha Hearne was fouled and made one of two free throws to make it a five-point game. Marquez was then fouled by Duran and hit both free throws. ACU shot 78 percent from the line. Danielle Dixon was then fouled and made one of two free throws to make it a four-point game, 80-76. Whitney West then came down hit a three pointer for the Wildcats but Abilene Christian was unable to foul the Lions after the ensuing inbound as time expired.
The Lions had four players in double figures. Harris had 25 and 15, her 16th double-double on the season. Dixon finished with 14 points and four rebounds. Symone Brown had 13 points even with fouling out with 5:27 left to play. Devin Oliver had 12 off the bench. Ashlee Johnson added nine along with three rebounds, four assists and two steals. Sarah Duran had six points including back-to-back buckets down the stretch to keep the Wildcats at bay.
Marquez led all scorers with 28 points including 12-14 from the free throw line. Kelsey Smith and Mackenzie Lankford each had 15 for the Wildcats.
The Lions advance to the semifinals on Friday at 12 noon against the winner of the Angelo State and West Texas quarterfinal. It is the second straight time the Lions have beaten the Wildcats in the LSC Tournament.