Saturday, December 11, 2010

#23 Lady Buffs Comple Road Trip with 79-71 Win over TAMUC

COMMERCE, Texas – Jamie Simmons scored a team-high 23 points and Casey Land added a season-high 17 points to lead the No. 23 West Texas A&M Lady Buffs past Texas A&M-Commerce, 79-71, Saturday night at A&M-Commerce Fieldhouse in Commerce, Texas.

WTAMU improved to 5-2 on the season and picked up its 40th win all-time over the Lions, who fall to 0-7 overall in the 2010-11 campaign.

Land (Fr-HS, Canyon, Texas) dished out a season-high seven assists on the night as well and made all three of the Lady Buffs’ three-point attempts, going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc on the evening. Simmons (Jr-1L, Houston, Texas) had a team-high eight rebounds as WT out-rebounded its opponent for a third straight contest after losing the rebound battle in their first four contests. The Lady Buffs finished the contest with 35 rebounds to TAMUC’s 30, who came into the game averaging over 44 rebounds a game as a team.

The game opened with Aly Sherman (Jr-1L, Mt. Vernon, Texas) making one of two free throw attempts, but the Lions countered with a free throw at the other end from Mattilyn McIntyre to tie the contest at 1-1. That would turn out to be the only tie of the game as WT proceeded to go on an 11-3 run and eventually build its lead up to 13 points, up 18-5 with 14:32 remaining in the period.

The Lions stormed back though, outscoring the Lady Buffs 13-2 over the next three minutes to pull within two points, down 20-18. The Lady Buffs regrouped though and Simmons’ jumper with 7:25 left to play made it a 28-20 game in favor of WT. The two team would trade baskets over the course of the final seven minutes in the half and WT took a 37-29 lead into the break.

TAMUC made it a four-point game with 17:03 left in the contest as McIntyre’s layup made it a 42-38 ballgame. Both teams went nearly two minutes without making a shot before Land’s layup with 15:20 made it a 44-38 game.

Just like the Lady Buffs did the other night against Texas Woman’s, it looked as if WT would just breeze through the second half as Simmons put in another layup with 12:15 left in game that gave the Lady Buffs an 11-point lead, up 53-42. TAMUC had different thoughts though, as they proceeded to score the game’s next seven points to make it a four-point game again at 53-49.

The Lady Buffs again were able to settle down, force turnovers and knock down a few shots to push their lead up to 14-points when a jumper from Ariel Robertson (Fr-RS, Cedar Hill, Texas) made it a 67-53 game with 4:44 left to play.

Simmons made a pair of free throws with 3:32 remaining to make it 71-57 game, but TAMUC battled back with a 6-2 run and with 1:25 remaining, WT’s lead dwindled to just 10-points, up 73-63.

The Lions were forced to foul over the final minute and a half, but WT converted just 3-of-9 from the charity stripe. TAMUC knocked down a pair of three-pointers and nailed a jumper from the field as well in that span, pulling within four points of the Lady Buffs with 15 seconds left on the clock.

Land was fouled at the 15 second mark, but she converted both of her attempts from the free throw line and TAMUC’s McIntyre was blocked by Sherman at the other end of the court. Robertson got the rebound off of the block and her down-court pass went to Simmons who put in the layup as time expired to give WT the 79-71 win.

Despite the down-to-the-wire ending, WT managed to keep the Lions out of reach as they forced 29 turnovers and scored 28 points off those miscues. TAMUC forced 28 turnovers, but put in just 19 points off of those.

Sherman and Callie Schniederjan (So-1L, Dalhart, Texas) each set career-highs with five steals apiece on the night and the team tied a season-high collecting 14 steals all together.

McIntyre led the way for the Lions, scoring a game-high 25 points, while Bianca Stevenson followed with 14 points. Stevenson led all players on the boards though as she tallied nine rebounds on the night.

The Lady Buffs shot 53.3% from the field in the first half, but still managed to improve on that figure as they converted 58.3% of their shots in the second period to finish at 55.6% on the night. The defense held the Lions to 48.1% shooting from the field and just 30.8% from beyond the arc.

Free throw shooting continues to be a struggle for the Lady Buffs on the season as the team shot just 55.2% from the charity stripe on the evening. TAMUC struggled as well, converting just 62.5% of its shots from the line.

The Lady Buffs will have an entire week to prepare for its upcoming opponent, as WT does not step back onto the court until next Saturday, Dec. 18, when they host Central Oklahoma. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. inside First United Bank Center in Canyon.

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