Lady Aggies fall in LSC Tournament

Photo courtesy of Lone Star Conference

Krista Pylant
Sports Editor
@KristaPylant8

In the opening round of the Lone Star Conference Tournament, sixth-seed Texas A&M Commerce defeated the third-seed Cameron Lady Aggies 80-65 for the first upset of the series on March 5 in Allen, Texas.

Cameron beat A&M Commerce in its last two regular season match-ups but had trouble contesting with the Lions in the postseason.

Texas A&M Commerce head coach Jason Burton said the initial focus of game and the Lion’s key to victory was shutting down the Lady Aggies’ scoring threats.

Photo courtesy of Lone Star Conference

Photo courtesy of Lone Star Conference

“We knew how to score the ball today,” Burton said, “and we knew Jazzmine Robinson was going to score. We decided to pack the paint a little bit, and force Robinson to shoot some jump shots. We knew she was going to make some. She made a lot more than we wanted her to, but they bought into the defense.”

Despite Robinson scoring 29 points on the game, just two points shy of the career high she set against Truman State earlier in the season, a rough second half proved to be Cameron’s undoing.

The Lady Aggies opened the contest with seven unanswered points but an A&M Commerce timeout allowed Texas to regroup and catch up to Cameron, tying the game at seven.

The battle for the lead continued on both sides until A&M Commerce took a 36-33 lead with just under two minutes remaining in the first half. CU’s Jade Herl put the Lady Aggies back on the board by draining a three-pointer with 30 seconds left on the clock to send the teams into the locker room tied 36-36 at the half.

Despite the close first half, Cameron head coach Tom Webb said cold shooting and poor defensive calls proved costly for the Lady Aggies in the second.

“Come the second half we were okay,” Webb said, “and then we went a little stretch around the 12 minute mark where we didn’t score for a while, and they went on a run. I made two bad calls defensively, and that killed us. There’s no doubt this is a tough loss.”

Cameron opened the second half with a Jazzmine Robinson three-pointer during the first few seconds of play. Both teams exchanged the lead until A&M Commerce knotted the game at 53 with a jumper from Abigail Leaupepe-Tele.

After a five minute scoring drought by the Lady Aggies, the Lions went on a run, pulling a 67-53 advantage over Cameron. From that point forward, the Lions controlled the game, holding the Lady Aggie’s scoring to just 32% from the field.

Burton said his biggest game plan involved keeping Cameron’s three-point shooters at bay.

Photo courtesy of Lone Star Conference

Photo courtesy of Lone Star Conference

“We didn’t want [Brandi Leal] or Herl to get shots off,” Burton said. “We wanted to make them uncomfortable. We played Cameron in a tight game the last time at Cameron, and Leal steps up and hits two three’s late in the game- we’re talking about five feet from the line.

“We know how good of a shooter she is,” he continued, “so we kind of wanted to make it a three-on-three game and make the other players shoot jump shots. Fortunately for us, it worked today.”

Leal, who averages over 13 points a game was limited to just five and went 1-8 from behind the arc.

Webb said A&M Commerce’s use of the Box-and-1 & Triangle-and-2 plays held down Cameron’s scoring opportunities.

“It’s more screening action than we are used to,” Webb said. “In the postseason, it can sometimes be physical play, so we didn’t get as good of looks as we wanted to and clean catches. Those kinds of things are important when you’re shooting the basketball.

“At the same time, they hit some shots,” he said, “and we got beat a couple of times in defensive transition in key moments. That hurt us a little bit.”

The loss pushed Cameron back two spots to eighth in division-II standings, but they clinched the final slot to play West Texas in the South Central Regional tournament beginning March 13.

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