By Eric Butler, Freedom Correspondent
Crisper play, both offensively and defensively, helped Eastern New Mexico University get out to a lead Saturday night as the Zias tried to get their first Lone Star Conference South Division win.
But five points just didn’t turn out to be enough.
A rash of turnovers helped visiting Angelo State chop ENMU’s advantage to nothing and the Rambelles gradually gained control to grab a 58-51 victory at Greyhound Arena.
Angelo State (11-9, 2-3 South) never trailed in the second half . The Rambelles were led by Camille Perkins’ 19 points and 11 more from Ann Parks.
The Zias, paced by 11 points from Clovis’ Tori Northcutt, held a 17-12 lead after Kara Bible hit a short jumper with 5:44 to play in the first half. At that point, Eastern became its own worst enemy as Angelo State went on an 11-0 run.
While the Rambelles did get their only made 3-point shot of the night during the stretch, as well as effectively capitalizing on their inside height advantage for the first time, ENMU (9-14, 0-5) also contributed by giving up the ball three times — part of 13 first half turnovers.
“I think that was it, turnovers,” Zias coach Linden Weese said. “We shot the ball well, almost 40 percent for the game, but we just didn’t give ourselves enough opportunities to shoot.”
A 3-pointer by Cat Clay just before intermission, however, meant that the home team was still only down by three points.
To start the second half, Rambelles forward Lauren Weishuhn hit a shot in the paint to make the score 27-22. Following a Zias free throw, Angelo State then registered an 8-1 run to go ahead by 11 points.
While the visitors may have been slow to utilize thir superior height inside, almost all of the Rambelles’ scoring in the second half came from attempts near to the bucket.
“They’ve got their two 6-1 kids and, obviously, we don’t have that,” Weese said. “But I thought we attacked it pretty well.”
The Zias’ last real chance to catch up came when Northcutt hit a pair of free throws with four minutes left and, 20 seconds later, Til-Lois Fifer picked off and made a layup to make the score 51-45.
But Angelo responded with five straight points for a cushion that withstood a pair of late 3-pointers by Northcutt.
The Rambelles entered the game coming off a lopsided 72-45 at West Texas A&M on Wednesday.
“We’ve come off a lot of losses this season,” Angelo coach Sally Brooks said. “We have a record now that we haven’t had in nine years.
“That one loss wasn’t going to shake us. We’’ve been working hard to improve all year long, and I think it showed tonight.”
As for ENMU, the Zias’ trek to get their first South wins with a pair of games against West Texas, beginning Wednesday in Canyon, Texas.