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A&M-Commerce men's basketball finish season strong

Women's team loses to East Central

By Justin Cheatham
On February 28, 2011


Men's Basketball

The A&M-Commerce men's basketball team ended the season on a high note with their 65-63 victory against the Tigers from East Central University last Saturday, Feb. 26. The Lions end the regular season with an 18-8 overall record and an 8-4 conference record. With the victory also came a clinched second place in the Lone Star Conference North.

"Actually we were getting punked," senior Tyris Dowell said. "They were out rebounding us and really they started playing harder than us so we had to just keep our heads up and come back out and play harder than them to come out with a victory."

Dowell, who was playing in his last home game as a Lion, led the team offensively with 12 points and four rebounds.

"It couldn't have been better," Dowell said. "Coach Walker blessed me and I had a good two years here. I'm happy to be here and happy to finish my senior night like I did."

The victory was not an easy one, as the visitors relentlessly trailed the Lions throughout the game. The Tigers had previously rattled the Lions in a close 68-63 meeting at the beginning of conference play.

"I know we can't play like that and win in the tournament," junior Labree Sledge said. "We have got to play better defense, rebound the ball and execute better on offense and we'll be all right."

Players and coaches alike were glad to win, but they also seemed to be looking towards the future and what changes they can make to ensure success at the Lone Star Conference Tournament.

"I know this past week we kind of got disappointed with the loss to Southwestern and Cameron and some of the certain things we lost in those games," sophomore Esteban Arriola said. "We have to work on stuff like that. Like rebounding and blocking out; other than that, it's March madness time."

Sophomore Andrew Davis had a notable night, leading the Lions defensive efforts with five rebounds and nine points.

"Nobody had more than five rebounds but still we were able to battle them on the boards even though they were a bigger team and it took everybody to beat a good team and it took everybody playing hard tonight," Walker said.

The Lions face conference rivals Midwestern State University in Bartlesville, Oklahoma on March 3 at 6 p.m.  Midwestern has defeated the Lions once already this season in Wichita 102-94. They go in as the third placed team from the LSC South Division.

"We really don't have a lot of time to practice," Walker said. "We'll take off tomorrow and we'll practice Monday but we'll be in Bartlesville Tuesday and Wednesday. We have to execute a lot better than tonight and play a little bit better together. But we never lost faith in each other, and for that I'm very happy and very proud."

Coach Walker has confidence in the abilities of his team, but seemed weary of predicting this years' outcome at the Tournament.

"I have no idea, I wouldn't make that kind of prediction; trust me," Walker said. "But of all eight teams going, all eight teams have a chance to win it. There might be some underdogs but I think all eight of them have a chance to beat anybody on a given night and that doesn't happen very much."

Women's Basketball

The Texas A&M University - Commerce women's basketball team lost their last home game 75-71 to East Central University Feb. 26 at the Field House, but with this loss expectations for next season are high.

In her last game as a Lion, senior Mattilyn McIntyre led the team offensively and defensively with a 20-point and 11 rebound double-double, despite her injury earlier this week.

"I didn't want to let them down," she said. "I wanted to go out there and play hard. I hope my teammates and the program know they mean the world to me and to keep pushing ahead and keep going forward."

The Lions started off on a 4-0 run within two minutes of play, marking their largest lead of the game, but East Central answered with a 9-2 run.

"We came out and played hard, I'm glad we could do that," McIntyre said. "Next year I know they are going to be good."

Freshmen Danielle Dixon also had a notable night, finishing her first year as a Lion with a team high 20 points and seven rebounds. Head Coach Nicole Anderson said she is looking forward to this year's freshmen additions helping the team in the long run.

"Even though we fell behind they played really hard," McIntyre said.

Freshman China Pippin had a career high game for the Lions, contributing eight points and going 2-7 from three-point range.

"Once I hit that first 3-pointer, it kind of got me going." freshmen China Pippin said.

The young Lions team was enthusiastic about their future at the field house, with seven girls getting experience on the court in their freshmen year.

"I could have been better on defense," Pippin said. "But I didn't give up so I feel good, I'm confident."

ECU put in a solid team effort, beating the Lions at home with three players scoring at least 13 points. Sophomore Jourdan Clark led the Tigers with 21 points and eight rebounds followed by sophomore Regan Browne with 18 points and 9 rebounds and rounding out the leaders was senior Casi Rawls with 13 points and two rebounds.

"Once I hit that first three, it kind of got me going." freshmen China Pippin said.

The young Lions team was enthusiastic about their future at the field house, with seven girls getting experience on the court in their freshmen year.

"I could have been better on defense," Pippin said. "But I didn't give up so I feel good, I'm confident.

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