Well, football season has been over for a few weeks now, and this weekend Ferris State and Valdosta State will be playing in McKinney for the Division II crown, but for the past few weeks, Basketball has been going hot and heavy and the Texas A&M-Commerce Lion Women are picking up where they left off from the past 2 seasons and have started the year off undefeated and have done so against some really good teams. Let’s take a deeper look.
- It is pretty exciting to know that the current coach is the best coach in program history. This program’s success is riding on the shoulders of a Coach who is not even 40 yet. Jason Burton has really done a phenomenal job since he got here in 2014. Under Burton, this program has NEVER had a losing season. In 7 seasons, the Lion Women have had 6 winning seasons, 3 apperances in the NCAA Division II Women’s Tournament, 2 LSC Division Championships, 1 Regular Season Championship, and 1 Coach of the Year award. He already has the record for most wins in program history, most conference wins, and winning percentage.
- The change in culture has been a huge part of the success the program. The trajectory has been nothing but up. The first season, it’s a 14-14 season at .500, then the next 3 seasons, winning seasons that have the Lions knocking on the door for the conference titles and NCAA tourney appearances, and now this team is in the upper echelon of the LSC.
- The history of the Women’s program at Texas A&M-Commerce before Jason Burton really comes down to one season, and I got to see it. The 2006-07 Lion Women under Denny Downing notched a 28-9 season that saw them win the Lone Star Conference regular season, LSC tournament, and LSC North Division, and NCAA Division II South Central Region Champs. This got them to the Elite 8 where they lost by 5 to Clayton State 60-55. I knew many of the girls on that squad, and they had some serious game. My intramural team scrimmaged them and they were fantastic and well coached. Aside from that great team, there had never been a team that ever won a conference or Division Championship or a NCAA tournament invite before that year, and until Burton got here, there had not been since then. One might wonder if the 2019-20 team would have outdone that 2006-07 team had COVID-19 not come around and ruined the NCAA tournament.
- The LSC is full of good Women’s Basketball teams. Lubbock Christian is the Lion’s main rival for LSC supremacy and they are currently ranked 2nd in one poll, 3 spots ahead of the Lions, but they are also behind the Lions in the D2SIDA poll. West Texas A&M is also a strong program and trips to Canyon are always tough for anyone. If the Lion Women are able to run this gamete of tough teams, they could really be a national title contender come early March.
- The Lion Women have started out at 9-0 this year and notched a close win in Denton against Texas Women’s Monday night, giving them their first conference win. The Lion Women will head west to face Midwestern State Thursday night in Wichita Falls, before returning back home to host Arkansas-Fort Smith the Monday of Christmas week. Circle your calendars for January 13, as defending LSC champs Lubbock Christian comes to Commerce and it will be nearly 2 years to the day that Jason Burton & company got a program defining win by defeating the Lady Chaps in Commerce in front of a sold out University Fieldhouse. This team has given us a lot to root for the past 6-7 seasons, so keep watching as this group has started out in that same vein.