Zias snap five-game losing streak with comeback win

PNT Staff

ADA, Okla. — Junior Riikka Lehtonen delivered a tie-breaking 3-point basket with 2:53 to go on Saturday as Eastern New Mexico University posted a 47-44 victory over East Central in a Lone Star Conference women’s crossover game.
The Zias (6-8) held ECU to one field goal in the final 11 minutes, coming with less than 30 seconds left, and erased an eight-point deficit midway through the second half to snap a five-game losing streak.
Junior guard Heather Brown missed two 1-and-1 free throw opportunities and a two-shot foul in the final minute before sinking a pair of charity tosses with 3.9 seconds left for a three-point lead. The Lady Tigers (6-8), who dropped their fourth in a row, did not get off a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the remaining time.
Lehtonen, a native of Finland and a junior college transfer, and junior guard Ashley Davidson were given their first starts of the season by ENMU acting women’s coach Dustin Klafka as the Zias tried to end their recent slide. In their previous four games in January, ENMU lost three games at home by a total of eight points and an overtime decision on Thursday at Southeastern Oklahoma after erasing a 23-point, second-half deficit.
Brown and senior Loren Scarlett led Eastern with 10 points each despite shooting a combined 6-of-22 from the field and 3-of-16 from 3-point range. The Zias shot 33 percent overall on 15-of-45, including 6-of-23 from beyond the arc.
Senior guard-forward Shantele Graham scored 11 points for ECU, which shot 20 percent in the second half (5-of-25) and only 26 percent for the game.
Brown hit a pair of 3-pointers to spark the Zias to an 8-1 lead less than four minutes into the game before the Lady Tigers held Eastern scoreless for four minutes while pushing in front 12-8.
Scarlett’s 3-pointer with 1:30 to go gave the Zias a one-point lead, but the Lady Tigers carried a 24-23 advantage into halftime.
Tia Doss put the Zias back in front with the first basket after play resumed, but ECU went on a 16-6 run over the next seven minutes and led 37-29 after a 3-pointer by Tenecia Miller with 11:24 to go. The Lady Tigers were still in front 42-38 on two free throws by Lacey Goldwire with 6:24 remaining, but didn’t score again until Miller’s layup with 24 seconds left made it 45-44.

ENMU 47, East Central 44
Eastern New Mexico (6-8) —
Riikka Lehtonen 3-4 1-2 9, Tia Doss 3-7 1-5 7, Mika Robertson 1-4 4-4 6, Heather Brown 3-10 2-7 10, Ashley Davidson 1-3 0-0 3, Casey Rodriguez 0-1 0-0 0, Erika Cook 0-2 0-0 0, Loren Scarlett 3-12 3-4 10, Tiana Bryant 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 15-45 11-22 47.
East Central (6-8) — Teleah Hayes 1-6 4-7 6, Jastin Flenory 1-5 2-4 4, Shantele Graham 3-7 1-2 8, Tenicia Miller 4-12 1-2 11, Kelli Donovan 2-12 0-0 6, Lacey Goldwire 1-2 2-2 4, Amber Gatlin 0-1 0-0 0, Kristie Dodgion 1-5 1-2 3, Valerie Boothe 1-4 0-0 2 Totals 14-54 11-19 44.
Halftime — East Central 24, Eastern New Mexico 23. 3-pointers — Eastern New Mexico 6-23 (Lehtonen 2-2, Brown 2-6, Davidson 1-2, Scarlett 1-10, Bryant 0-1, Robertson 0-1, Rodriguez 0-1), East Central 5-17 (Miller 2-6, Donovan 2-7, Graham 1-2, Gatlin 0-1, Goldwire 0-1). Rebounds — Eastern New Mexico 37 (Robertson 6), East Central 44 (Flenory 11). Assists — Eastern New Mexico 8 (Brown 3), East Central 6 (Flenory 3). Total fouls — Eastern New Mexico 15, East Central 15. Fouled out — none. A — 300.