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Lions defeat Mustangs on an emotional night at D.L. Ligon Coliseum

Comments from Texas A&M-Commerce head coach Jason Burton and Midwestern State guard Mica Schneider following 92-77 win over Midwestern State on Thursday night.

Texas A&M-Commerce head coach Jason Burton

On holding a 17-5 advantage on offensive rebounds:

“I think we know who we are right now. We found a way to get extra possessions through turnover margin and rebounds and that’s been a focus for us all year. I didn’t think we were consistent on the defensive end and we didn’t guard like we normally guard. That’s not to take away from Midwestern because Mica had a heckuva game. She shot the ball with confidence and she was stretching the floor. She wasn’t shooting it on the line, she was shooting it from two or three feet behind the line. That makes it hard to close out when they’re getting good post play and I thought Hannah Reynolds hit some good shots and we had to try and make her uncomfortable a little bit then Schneider would hit from deep. I thought we did a great job of creating second chances for us and that’s one of the reasons we won tonight because we had second-chance points.

On each player having active hands-on defense:

“That’s also been who we are – get ball pressure and length. We try to take away the dribble drive and some of the stuff we normally do was there but our help-side defense wasn’t good tonight. That’s where we need to improve down the stretch. When we play good defense and we’re active on the ball I think we’re the best team in the country.”

On how the tragedies on campus have helped the team draw closer:

“It may have helped but I think our team was already built that way. It’s been a special team from the very beginning of the year. We had two freshmen who knew the young lady that passed away in the tragedy a couple of week ago and I had the freshmen over at my house. An hour later, all the upperclassmen showed up and that’s the kind of team that we have. They are very unselfish and they celebrate each other. When someone wins Lone Star Conference Player of the Week, the whole team celebrates and when someone makes a three in the game the whole team gets excited. It’s something that we’ve tried to create throughout the years and I think it’s finally starting to sink in. Take the wins away, coaching these young ladies every day has been fun because they play the game the right way, they have fun and they are unselfish.

MSU guard Mica Schneider

On motivation to have one of the best games of her career:

“It’s pretty big motivation coming in against the No. 3 team in the country and the spotlight of bringing them down would’ve meant a lot to this program and to coach (Noel) Johnson so I gave it my all.”

On setting new career-high in points in the last two home games:

“Up until this season, I haven’t really played my best at home. The fact that I’m finally, in my last year, can get the atmosphere down is pretty nice.”

On the hot three-point shooting in the last two home games:

“Coaches recruited me to be a three-point shooter and throughout my career, I haven’t been my best and even at the start of the season. I got in the gym and just seeing the ball go through has been tremendous.”

On wearing teal jerseys in support of head coach Noel Johnson who has stepped away to battle Stage IV Ovarian Cancer:

“It’s kind of sad because you feel a hole on the bench and you feel a hole on the court. The best thing I think I can do is play my best and show her why she brought me here – I’m thankful for that.”

On confidence after seeing the first three-point shot go in:

“I don’t even know how to explain it seeing the ball go through. I told my dad after shootaround this morning that I had a great shootaround and I could feel it since this morning.”

Notes: Lions extend the best in-season win streak in school history to 23 games; Mica Schneider set a career-high with 31 points and seven made three-point shots; Alexis Bryant set a career-high with 21 points and had a double-double with 10 rebounds for the Lions; Maddison Glass also set a career-high in points for the Lions; MSU leads all-time series 43-27; This was the first game of a four-game homestand for the Mustangs; Lions travel to play Cameron on Saturday at 2 p.m. while MSU will host UT Tyler at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

No. 3 TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE (23-0, 17-0)

Juliana Louis 2-5 1-2 6; Alexis Bryant 8-14 5-8 21; Alexus Jones 3-10 0-0 7; Chania Wright 5-11 0-0 13; Maddison Glass 6-8 8-10 20; DesiRay Kernal 1-5 4-4 6; Mykiel Burleson 0-4 3-4 3; Dyani Robinson 5-9 0-1 12; KeeKee Nowlin 0-1 0-0 0; Agang Tac 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 32-69 21-29 92.

MIDWESTERN STATE (8-13, 6-11)

Hannah Reynolds 4-7 0-1 8; Kityana Diaz 2-6 0-0 4; Haevyn Risley 0-0 0-0 0; Eternity Jackson 2-5 0-0 6; Mica Schneider 11-21 7-13 31; Shawnisay Millar 0-2 0-0 0; Corbriyana Wingfield 0-0 0-0 0; Frances King 2-5 0-0 4; Markayla Johnson 1-2 0-0 2; Kaki Simpson 0-1 0-0 0; Mandy Withey 2-4 2-2 6; Courtney Kerr 0-0 0-0 0; Elizabeth Cathcart 6-12 4-4 16. Totals 30-65 8-9 77.

Halftime score — TAMUC 47, MSU 34 3-Point Goals —TAMUC 07-11 (Louis 1-1, Jones 1-3, Wright 3-3, Burleson 0-1, Robinson 2-3); MSU 09-19 (Diaz 0-1, Jackson 2-2, Schneider 7-13, King 0-1, Simpson 0-1, Cathcart 0-1). Fouled Out —TAMUC (None); MSU (Risley). Rebounds — TAMUC 48 (Bryant 10); MSU 29 (Withey 6). Assists — TAMUC 18 (Wright 8); MSU 19 (Schneider 6). Total Fouls — TAMUC 13, MSU 22. Technicals — TAMUC (None); MSU (None). A — 587.

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