The A&M-Commerce women's basketball team has advanced to the conference semifinals with a 80-79 upset victory.
The result stunned Lone Star Conference women's basketball fans on Wednesday at The Allen Events Center in Allen. A&M-Commerce entered the game with the seventh seed in the eight-team field, while Abilene Christian, regular-season co-champions of the Lone Star Conference, entered as the second seed.
"We played hard," said head coach Nicole Anderson. "We played really hard."
A&M-Commerce played a physical game that slowed the fast-paced style of Abilene Christian. The Lions also shut down the Wildcats' three-point shooting and forced Abilene Christian to bring plays inside the arc.
The Lions will play again Friday at noon against the winner of Thursday's game between West Texas A&M and Angelo State.
Junior forward Breanna Harris led the way for A&M-Commerce with 25 points (8-16 FG, 9-15 FT) and 15 rebounds. Other Lions scoring in double digits were junior guard Danielle Dixon (14) and sophomore guard Devin Oliver (12).
Rebounding played a big role in A&M-Commerce's success, with the Lions enjoying a 50-24 overall edge on the boards. A&M-Commerce grabbed 23 offensive rebounds and 27 on defense, while Abilene Christian managed just three offensive rebounds and 21 on defense.
"We've been incredible on the boards all year," Anderson said. "We were fantastic on the boards, fantastic."
The game featured six lead changes and 11 ties. A&M-Commerce led 42-37 at halftime. The Lions led by as many as nine in the first half, while the Wildcats led by a single point three times in the first half.
In the second half, A&M-Commerce led by as many as eight, while Abilene Christian was able to tie the game three times in the second half but never could regain the lead.
The victory came in the A&M-Commerce women's first LSC postseason tournament appearance since 2009.
A&M-Commerce's overall 2012-13 record stands at 11-15 overall, while Abilene Christian falls to 21-6. Abilene Christian won the regular-season series against A&M-Commerce, with a 81-60 victory in Abilene Dec. 4 and a 75-61 triumph in Commerce Feb. 6.