Lions women hoopsters ready for encore roar

Nov 6, 2013

Texas A&M University-Commerce women's basketball team heads into the 2013-14 season looking to build on the turnaround that began with last season's 11 wins and a win over Abilene Christian in the Lone Star Conference Tournament Quarterfinals. The Lions open the season in Austin vs. Central Oklahoma University and at St. Edward's University.

The Lions were picked to finish fifth in the LSC this season as voted on by the conference coaches, sports information directors and various media members. The Lions also received one first place vote and was one vote behind Angelo State for fourth in the poll. Midwestern State was voted to win the LSC regular season title after winning the conference tournament last season.

The schedule shapes up with three Division I teams for the Lions--Sam Houston State University, Abilene Christian University and Stephen F. Austin University--in the non-conference slate. The opening weekend sees the Lions travel to Austin to face former LSC foe Central Oklahoma and host St. Edwards in the St. Edwards's Calvin Townes Memorial Classic. The Lions face familiar teams from last season. Southeastern Oklahoma State University hosts the Lions after traveling to the Field House last season. A&M-Commerce hosts Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University after traveling to both schools last season.

The conference season opens with Angelo State University at The Field House on the second day of 2014. The Lions then have their next two at home versus Midwestern State University and Texas A&M University-Kingsville. A&M-Commerce travels to Tarleton State University on the first of February to face preseason player of the year Kiara Wright. To close out conference play the Lions have three of the last five on the road. The home contests come versus Eastern New Mexico University, who the Lions swept last season, and Tarleton State to close out the regular season on March 1.

The 2012-13 season was one head coach Nicole Anderson and the Lions were building towards. The nine win improvement from 2011-12 earned Anderson Co-Coach of the Year in the LSC and showed that A&M-Commerce was going to be a factor in the coming seasons. Anderson enters her fifth season at the helm of the A&M-Commerce program and will look to bring the program to new heights after last season's success.  

The Lions return their top two scorers in Breanna Harris and Danielle Dixon. The two seniors will look to elevate the program even further in their final seasons in a Lion uniform.

Harris is coming off a season that saw her average a double-double, 15.6 points and 10.5 rebounds, and earn second team All-LSC honors. Harris' 283 rebounds were the third most in program history and Harris is on pace to break all-time rebounding record this season.

Dixon averaged 9.8 points a season ago along with 4.3 rebounds. Dixon ranked seventh in the LSC in steals per game with her 1.6 average. Dixon has logged 2,220 minutes in her three seasons so far for A&M-Commerce.

The third senior for the Lions is Shanekqua Bibbs. Bibs appeared in 17 games for the Lions a season ago after transferring from East Mississippi Community College. Bibbs averaged 6.8 minutes per game in a limited role for the Lions. Abigail Leaupepe-Tele is back for the Lions after spending last season competing for the Lions track and field team. In 2011-12 Leaupepe-Tele appeared in 18 games for the Lions.

La'Tisha Hearne returns after starting 20 games for the Lions a season ago. Hearne averaged 8.3 points and 6 rebounds a season ago. Ashlee Johnson returns after appearing in 25 games for the Lions. Johnson tied a season high with nine points in the Lions win versus Abilene Christian in the LSC Tournament Quarterfinal. Devin Oliver also returns for her junior season. Oliver saw action in 24 games for the Lions, averaging 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds. Oliver recorded career high 19 points in the Lions loss to West Texas in the LSC Semifinals.

Aubree Butts and Symone Brown both made contributions a season ago as freshmen for the Lions. Butts saw action in 25 games including 19 starts for the Lions, averaging 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds. Brown saw her production increase as the season progressed along with her minutes. For the season Brown averaged 6.9 points and 4.4 rebounds while appearing in all 27 games for the Lions.

For 2013-14 the Lions welcome six newcomers to the squad. Five of the newcomers are from the high school ranks and one is a transfer from the Division I level.

Zenobia Winbush comes to A&M-Commerce after transferring from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi after one season. The Schertz native led Samuel Clemens High School in scoring and rebounding during her senior season.

Cheyenne Ramey comes to A&M-Commerce from Pittsburg, Texas after lettering three seasons for the Lady Pirates. At Pittsburg Ramey helped lead Pittsburg to a pair of regional appearances. Alize Pegue is a former Liberty-Eylau Leopard and a four-year letterwinner for the Leopards. Pegue helped guide the Leopards to three regional appearances.Larissa Arriola comes to A&M-Commerce after lettering three seasons for the Bobcats of Edinburg North. At Edinburg Arriola helped the Bobcats to a pair of playoff appearances in District 30-5A. Jasmine Glee is a guard from Cedar Hill. At Cedar Hill, Glee helped the Longhorns get to the 2013 regional quarterfinals before falling to eventual state champion Duncanville. Elizabeth Rutherford is from right down the road in Greenville. Rutherford was a three-year letterwinner at Greenville and earned First Team All-District 13-4A honors in 2012.

A&M-Commerce opens with Central Oklahoma at the St. Edwards's Calvin Townes Memorial Classic on Friday. The Bronchos were picked to finish 11th in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) after finishing 9-17 overall and 2-16 in conference last season. This marks the first time the schools have played since UCO left the Lone Star Conference after the 2010-11 season. The Bonchos did go undefeated against LSC schools last season, beating Angelo State, Cameron, Texas Woman's and eventual conference champ Midwestern State. Central Oklahoma returns Jill Bryan and Britney Morgan, both averaged 10 points and five rebounds last season.

St. Edward's was picked to finish fourth in the seven-team Heartland Conference this season. The Hilltoppers are coming off a season in which they finished 13-14 overall and 6-6 in conference play. St. Edward's split the season series with A&M-Kingsville last season, with both teams winning on its own floor. Maddie Wheeler led St. Edward's in scoring last season (13.9 ppg) and is back for her junior season. Erica Rousculp is also back after averaging 9.1 points a season ago for the Hilltoppers.

A&M-Commerce Lions vs. Central Oklahoma Bronchos

Friday November 8 • 3:00 p.m.
Records: A&M-Commerce (0-0), Central Oklahoma (0-0)
Live Stats:
Live Video:
Twitter Updates: @Lion_Athletics

A&M-Commerce Lions at St. Edward's Hilltoppers
Saturday November 9 • 3:00 p.m.
Records: A&M-Commerce (0-0), St. Edwards (0-0)
Live Stats:
Live Video:
Twitter Updates: @Lion_Athletics