Privateers lead most of contest but fall to late rally by Texas A&M-Commerce

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NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Privateers (2-13, 1-5) led for most of the contest but could not hold off a late rally in a 74-69 loss to the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions (8-10, 6-0) on Thursday evening at the Lakefront Arena.

New Orleans led for nearly 34 minutes and had an advantage as big as 15 at one point in the second quarter.

However, it was Texas A&M-Commerce who came out victorious with big plays down the stretch. Trailing 69-68, Laila Lawrence made a bucket and got fouled with 54 seconds left. That put the Lions ahead 71-69.

After a miss on the Privateers’ end of the floor, the Lions got a triple from DesiRay Kernal with one second left on the shot clock and 15 seconds left in the game. That proved to be the dagger as Texas A&M-Commerce remained unbeaten with their fifth single-digit win in conference play.

The Privateers came out hot behind a strong start from a balanced offense. New Orleans shot 60 percent from the field in the first quarter and sank three triples to establish a 21-15 lead after 10 minutes of play.

Justice Ross reached a career-high in the first half as she poured in 13 points. Ross had a previous best of 12 in the season opener against UTEP.

Both teams traded punches in a high-octane second quarter that featured over 20 points for both sides. When the dust settled, New Orleans took a 43-36 advantage into the locker room. The Privateers shot 50 percent from the field in the first half while the Lions connected on 51.6 percent of their attempts.

New Orleans had three in double figures led by Ross (13) and Tara Green (13). Hennessey Luu-Brown also chipped in with 10 points. Ross added seven assists and five rebounds. Zoe Cooper led the way in rebounds with eight. Nora Francois added six boards.

Lawrence and Kernal combined for 34 points to lead the Lions. Mia Deck and Olivia Russell each had five assists.

The Privateers will host Northwestern State on Saturday. Tip is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Fans are encouraged to follow @PrivateersWBB on Twitter, @PrivateersWBB on Instagram, and like /PrivateersWBB on Facebook.

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