Aggies Open LSC Tournament Play
The Aggies split their quarterfinal matchups in the Lone Star Conference (LSC) Tournament on March 3 in Allen, Texas.
CU went into their games with matching 15-win records on the season, but the women finished with one more conference win and one more conference loss than the men. Both teams took on Texas teams in their matchups, with the women squaring off against Texas Woman’s University and the men facing West Texas A&M.
The Black and Gold’s game against the Pioneers featured fluctuating leads and a to-the-wire finish that ended with a 78-75 loss for CU.
Despite holding a six-point lead at one point in the game, Cameron fell in the quarterfinal, snapping a four-game wining streak against Texas Woman’s. The defeat also continued Cameron’s postseason woes, marking the sixth consecutive LSC Tournament loss to put the Aggies’ quarterfinal record at 1-11.
Head coach Tom Webb said close losses like this embody the feel of the tournament.
“Someone’s got to win, and someone’s got to lose,” he said in a press release. “We just happened to be short today. At the end of the day, it just came down to a couple of plays, couple of shots, momentum here and there.
“Other than that, you just want to go out on top.”
The first quarter started close, with both teams playing to an early 8-all tie. However, the Pioneers rode the momentum of a 9-1 run to take the lead into a timeout. After the pause, though, the Black and Gold charged ahead to mount a 15-1 run to take the 24-19 lead early in the second frame.
While the Aggies outscored TWU 20-17 in the period, poor shooting down the stretch allowed TWU to pull ahead 35-34 at the half.
The game stayed neck-and-neck coming out of the locker room, with no team holding a lead by more than three points. The teams would both score 18 in the third quarter, but CU would pull ahead 62-61 with seven minutes left in the fourth.
That lead would be the last of the game for the Aggies, as Texas Woman’s pulled ahead by slim margins, with Cameron chipping at the lead throughout. Late TWU foul shots sealed the game and effectively ended the Aggies’ season.
Junior Dayla Threatt led the Black and Gold with 21 points on the game. It was her 20th double-digit scoring output of the season and her fourth scoring at least 20 points. Freshman Brandi Gomez contributed a career-high 12 points on 4-7 shooting from behind the arc.
Brandi Leal and Natalie Halbleib added nine points each, all from three-point range.
Senior DJ Vallier grabbed nine of Cameron’s 33 rebounds to lead the team. TWU finished ahead on the glass with 44 team boards. While CU nailed 12 three pointers compared to the Pioneers’ one, Texas Woman’s held the advantage in overall shooting by five percentage points.
The Black and Gold ended their season at 15-11 overall, 9-7 in conference. With the win, Texas Woman’s advanced to the semifinals to face off against Angelo State.
Cameron closed out the game with solid play to hold onto the late lead and win 79-70 against West Texas A&M.
With this victory, the Aggies have won in the opening round of the tournament in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. For head coach Nate Gamet, the tight-knit contest was emblematic of the style of play in the LSC.
“Our seniors did a great job, and we had guys come off the bench and play some really big minutes for us tonight,” he said. “The guys just battled, the tone was set early, and our guys took advantage of our size and athleticism to go get us a few extra possessions.”
The two teams went back and forth from the opening tip, switching possession of the lead four times. However, the Aggies took advantage of a 12-2 run in the final three minutes of the half after draining consecutive threes to pull ahead by two possessions.
Cameron went into the locker room with a 44-38 lead, and they carried that momentum into the second frame, opening up a double-digit lead in the first five minutes. CU held on to their advantage until a West Texas three pointer put the Buffs ahead 65-64 with 5:55 left in the game. The Aggies closed the gap, overcoming a four-minute scoring slump to take the lead late in the half en route to the victory.
Seniors Deondre Ray and Jamaal Brantley led CU with 22 and 20 points, respectively. Brantley cleaned the glass for 15 boards to notch a double-double on the night. Junior Stacey Lambert added three blocks to back up the Black and Gold’s defensive effort.
Despite losing the ball 21 times from turnovers, the Aggies made up for it by nearly doubling the Buffs’ rebounding effort 45-21.
The win continued CU’s run in the LSC Tournament, clinching them a semifinal berth against Midwestern State.