LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana — Texas A&M University-Commerce's Lions played the top-seeded Southeastern Louisiana Lions to the final buzzer before falling 60-58 in overtime in the semifinals of the Southland Conference women's basketball tournament on Wednesday.
Though they played the last half of the season without the injured Dyani Robinson, the leading scorer in the conference, the Lions nearly pulled off the big upset.
The Lions had a chance to win in overtime after Hailey Giaratano tied the game at 58-58 for Southeastern with 20 seconds left. But Chrissy Brown stole the ball from the Lions with four seconds left and after a timeout, Giaratano scored again inside in the final seconds for the game-winning points.
The 20-9 victors advanced to the Southland finals to play Lamar at 4 p.m. on Thursday in the Legacy Center in Lake Charles. Lamar won its semifinal 65-53 over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
A&M-Commerce finished at 14-19 in its first season in NCAA Division I. The Lions reached the semifinals of a conference tournament for the fifth straight year.
A&M-Commerce led Southeastern 54-47 after Zaria Collins scored with 2:39 left in regulation but did not score again, losing three turnovers as Southeastern tied it at 54-54. A&M-Commerce survived a missed shot at the end of regulation.
DesiRay Kernal led the Lions for the game with 17 points, nine rebounds and sis assists. Mia Deck finished with 10 points and four assists. Olivia Russell produced 9 points and nine rebounds. Collins added 9 points to go with four rebounds and two steals. Laila Lawrence added 8 points and 10 rebounds.
Jen Pierre, who was 9-of-18 from the field, led the victors with 19 points. Giaratano finished with 12 points, while Dajia Harvey added 9 points in 16 minutes.
A&M-Commerce won its two previous tournament games, 79-66 over Northwestern State and 65-62 over Incarnate Word to reach the semifinals.
The Lions lost three times to Southeastern, including 46-42 at Southeastern and 66-55 in Commerce.
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