Wildcats claw Zias at home

By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers

As has happened numerous times in Lone Star Conference South Division play, Eastern New Mexico University’s women found themselves with a big hill to climb on Thursday, and they weren’t able to do it.

Sophomore post Audrey Maxwell scored the game’s first three baskets and went on to finish with 18 points and 19 rebounds as Abilene Christian downed ENMU 83-73 in a Lone Star Conference South Division game.

The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Zias (12-11, 3-8 South), and seriously damaged their chances of making an unlikely run to an LSC postseason tournament berth.

Senior forward Elizabeth Richards posted her 13th double-double of the season and 10th in the last 13 games, leading the Zias with 15 points and 19 rebounds.

Abilene Christian (15-10, 6-5) put five players in double figures in moving into third place in the division standings.

“I thought our girls did a good job of taking advantage of our size,” Wildcats coach Shawana Lavender said. “Eastern has been playing so well and they’re always tough at home, but I thought we did a good job of jumping on them early.”

The Zias went on a 16-6 run and took their only lead of the night at 30-29 on a running shot in the lane by guard Missy Kirkland. Abilene Christian promptly went back in front on forward Lacey Blau’s 3-pointer and finished the half on an 18-6 surge to take command.

The Zias pulled to 57-52 when senior guard Heather Brown knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner with 13:13 left, but they failed to score over the next 3 1/2 minutes and never got any closer after that.
“They just played up above us,” ENMU coach Linden Weese said, referring to the Wildcats’ size advantage at most positions. “There wasn’t much of anything we could do about it.”

ENMU limited Abilene Christian scoring leader Alex Guiton to 14 points, but Blau and Kristee Davidson each scored 13 and freshman Jamie Meyer came off the bench for 10.

“People are trying to take Alex away,” Lavender said. “But she did a good job of playing defense and finding open people (on offense).”
Brown had 14 points for ENMU, while Kirkland and fellow reserve Megan Ratliff added 13 apiece. Ratliff posted a career high, going 6-for-8 from the field.

“She played well for us,” Weese said of Ratliff, a 5-foot-9 senior. “She gave us a spark.”

Lone Star Conference South
Abilene Christian 83, ENMU 73
Abilene Christian (15-10, 6-5) — Kristee Davidson 6-10 1-2 13, Alex Guiton 3-5 5-8 14, Ashlee Barr 1-4 0-0 2, Lacey Blau 4-13 3-6 13, Audrey Maxwell 6-14 6-6 18, Kathryn Kundmueller 2-4 0-0 6, Jamie Mayer 5-8 0-0 10, Jody Meyer 2-5 3-3 7. Totals 29-63 18-25 83.
Eastern New Mexico (12-11, 3-8) — Elizabeth Richards 6-14 1-2 15, Lindsey Wood 2-9 0-0 5, Megan Kabrick 0-1 0-0 0, Riikka Lehtonen 4-11 1-2 9, Heather Brown 5-11 2-2 14, Rochelle Vance 0-3 0-0 0, Megan Ratliff 6-8 1-2 13, Roni Gomez 1-4 1-2 4, Missy Kirkland 4-7 4-4 13. Totals 28-68 10-14 73.
Halftime — Abilene Christian 48, Eastern New Mexico 37. 3-pointers — Abilene Christian 7-17 (Guiton 3-4, Kundmueller 2-2, Blau 2-8, Barr 0-1, Davidson 0-2), Eastern New Mexico 7-17 (Brown 2-4, Richards 2-5, Gomez 1-2, Kirkland 1-2, Wood 1-3, Kabrick 0-1). Rebounds — Abilene Christian 44 (Maxwell 19), Eastern New Mexico 36 (Richards 19). Assists — Abilene Christian 14 (Blau, Maxwell 4), Eastern New Mexico 13 (Brown 5). Total fouls — Abilene Christian 17, Eastern New Mexico 21. Fouled out — Davidson. Technicals — Eastern New Mexico bench. A — 140.