The Lady Lions hosted the Lady Dustdevils of TAMIU on Thursday night in a face-off of Heartland conference foes. UAFS jumped out to a 4-0 lead on two Blandine N’Goran baskets but that was the biggest lead they would have on that night. TAMIU quickly raced ahead of the Lady Lions as they led by as much as 23 and held a 35-15 advantage over UAFS at halftime. The second half didn’t get much better as the Lady Dustdevils pushed the lead to 31 at one point and claimed a 72-45 victory over the Lady Lions. Freshman forward Justyne Huber led the Lady Lions with 13 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds.
The next game was a showdown between the top two teams of the Heartland conference. TAMIU came into the game as the leader in the conference, two games ahead of second place UAFS, and the game lived up to its billing. The game got off to a wild start when TAMIU point guard Matthew Culliver Jr. got a steal and easy finish, but the Lions quickly answered back with a Jake Toupal jumper and a steal and monster slam by Bo Franklin. Both teams traded baskets throughout the first half and TAMIU held a one point lead over UAFS at halftime (39-38). The second half was just as exciting as the first. Half-way through the final period, TAMIU stretched their lead to 7 and looked as if they were beginning to pull away, but the Lions weren’t finished yet. Miha Glavas and Blake Branham combined to score 19 of the 28 second half points to help the Lions rally back to take the lead. With 17 seconds left and a one-point lead, Alex Cooper knocked down 2 free-throws to extend the lead to 3. With one final possession left for the Dustdevils, Deonnte Breedlove and Kevin Jefferson Jr both missed from beyond the arc resulting in a 66-63 Lions victory. Blake Branham led the team with 14 points, Miha Glavas pitched in 11 points all in the second half, and Seth Youngblood had 10 points.
On Saturday, rival St. Mary’s came to town and the Lady Lions were seeking an upset nearly two months after narrowly losing to the Lady Rattlers in San Antonio. The Lady Lions, who were looking to bounce back from their tough loss to TAMIU, traded the lead with St. Mary’s throughout the first half and had a 34-33 lead at halftime. The Lady Lions had the lead for almost all of the second half, leading by as much as 9. Justyne Huber had a complete game for UAFS. She led the way with 20 points and 7 rebounds as the Lady Lions defeated their rival 69-66. Candice Followwell chipped in 12 points, had a team-high 8 rebounds, and knocked down 2 of her 3 three-point attempts.
The final game of the weekend involved the Lions and the Rattlers. UAFS was seeking revenge for an early season loss to St. Mary’s in San Antonio. The Lions started out on fire - Seth Youngblood with a deep three pointer, McClish adding two free-throws, and a Bo Franklin layup plus the foul - giving the home team an early 8-0 advantage. The Lions didn’t look back, as they never trailed to the Rattlers despite severe foul trouble throughout the game. UAFS held a 39-37 point lead at halftime. During the second half the Lions blew the game open, leading by double-digits for nearly half of the final period. As time expired the Lions got their revenge beating St. Mary’s 82-71. Seth Youngblood led UAFS with 19 points, making 5 out of his 7 three-point attempts. Jake Toupal finished the game with 17 points, 12 of those coming in the second half. Xavier McClish and Alex Cooper chipped in with 12 and 10 points respectively.
The Lions hit the road this week to take on Dallas Baptist on Thursday at 7pm. The Lady Lions will matchup with Oklahoma Christian (Edmond, Okla.) on Saturday at 1pm and the Lions will tip-off at approximately 3pm.