Lions avoid “Dome Magic” woes with second-half defense

Lions avoid “Dome Magic” woes with second-half defense

Texas A&M-Commerce women’s basketball head coach Jason Burton is the program’s all-time leader in wins. However, during his impressive coaching career, D.L. Ligon Coliseum has not been kind to him. They departed with an upset loss on the Lions’ last visit to Wichita Falls.

The No. 3 ranked Lions were not leaving with another loss Thursday and played outstanding defense in the second half to earn an 81-35 win over Midwestern State.

“(MSU) is always well-coached, and they have good players,” Lions head coach Jason Burton said. “Noel (Johnson) did such a great job building a culture here, and Christopher Reay has done a great job keeping the tradition going. You add in a great environment, and I was glad to not see the band on the baseline today. They’re normally going and loud, and it’s tough to win here.”

TAMUC outscored the Mustangs 21-6 in the third quarter and scored the first 26 points of the fourth quarter, forcing 14 Mustangs’ turnovers in the second half. The Lions outscored the Mustangs 49-7 and held MSU to 2 of 26 from the field in the second half.

“We had a mentality shift, and that’s all I talked about at halftime,” Burton said. “I thought MSU wanted the game more in the first half – they were more physical, they got the ball to the paint, and they were dominant on the boards. So we changed our mentality in the second half, and when we saw a couple of things go right for us, it ignited us. 

“Today was a big step forward for us as a team, figuring out what we’re capable of doing on the defensive side. We’ve been able to score all year, but we haven’t played great defense until tonight.”

“I’m disappointed in our girls not showing more heart down the stretch,” MSU coach Christopher Reay said. “The first half was great, and the energy was there. Then, it just fell off, and anyone we went to on the bench felt like they’d already checked out for Christmas break.

“The ball didn’t go in the hole, and I was upset after the Oklahoma Baptist game for not getting foul calls, but this was atrocious. We didn’t get any calls when we attacked the rim – we only had six free throw attempts the whole game. We didn’t make shots, but it definitely wasn’t called the same way.” 

The same two teams will meet again on New Year’s Eve to open Lone Star Conference play, with tipoff scheduled for 2 p.m. in Commerce.

Texas A&M-Commerce 81, Midwestern State 35

TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE (10-0)

Chania Wright 2-7 2-2 6; Ravae Payne 2-3 0-0 4; DesiRay Kernal 3-7 3-4 9; Dyani Robinson 8-19 2-3 18; Symmone James 1-2 0-0 2; Ashley Shipley 1-2 0-0 2; Dorian Norris 0-2 0-2 0; Mia Deck 2-5 0-0 6; Victoria Hinton 2-2 0-0 4; Mackenzie Schott 0-0 0-0 0; Olivia Russell 1-2 2-2 4; Asiyha Smith 1-6 5-6 7; Laila Lawrence 8-16 3-4 19. Totals 31-73 17-23 81.

MIDWESTERN STATE (5-4)

Shawnisay Millar 2-5 1-2 5; Frances King 2-10 0-0 4; Hannah Reynolds 3-8 0-0 6; Markayla Johnson 2-7 0-0 5; Morgan Lenahan 2-8 0-0 4; Eternity Jackson 1-6 0-0 3; Sheridan Bostic 0-4 0-4 0; Maiyah Watkins 0-0 0-0 0; Yasmine Sifaoui 1-5 1-2 3; Jordan Mathis 1-5 1-2 3; Mandy Withey 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 15-60 3-6 35.

TAMUC –  20  12  21  28 – 81

MSU    –    14  14  6  1 – 35

3-Point Goals —TAMUC 2-9 (Wright 0-1, Kernal 0-1, Robinson 0-2, Shipley 0-1, Deck 2-2, Smith 0-2); MSU 2-16 (Millar 0-1, King 0-2, Reynolds 0-1, Johnson 1-4, Jackson 1-3, Bostic 0-4, Sifaoui 0-1). Fouled Out — TAMUC (None); MSU (None). Rebounds — TAMUC 56 (Kernal 13); MSU 33 (Sifaoui 7). Assists — TAMUC 15 (Wright 4); MSU 6 (Lenahan 2). Total Fouls — TAMUC 12, MSU 17. Technicals — TAMUC (None); MSU (None). A — 821.