Zias rally from 16 down to post win

Freedom New Mexico

WEATHERFORD, Okla. — Eastern New Mexico University erased a 16-point deficit with less than 16 minutes to go and edged Southwestern Oklahoma 73-70 Monday night in a Lone Star Conference women’s crossover game.

Junior guard Cat Clay went 5-of-10 from 3-point distance for the Zias (3-6), finishing with 22 points, while junior forward Til-Lois Fifer added 21 points and nine rebounds. ENMU’s bench contributed 40 points between Fifer and freshman guards Sorrel Huntington (10 points) and Nikki Ingram (nine points, eight rebounds and a team-high four assists).

Sophomore guard Holly Jennings paced Southwestern (0-9) with 18 points. Sophomore forward Courtney Harper added four 3-pointers and 16 points and junior guard Natasha Brown finished with 14.

The Bulldogs took control of the game with an 18-2 run in the first half for a 29-14 lead. ENMU got within six points late in the half, but Southwestern built the margin back to 38-27 at the break.

The Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run and appeared to be in command after two free throws by Jenna Sprague made it 48-32 with 15:52 left. The Zias countered with the next eight points and eventually took a 62-61 lead when Huntington’s layup at the 4:25 mark capped an 8-0 run.

Neither team led by more than three points the rest of the way. Southwestern went ahead 66-63 lead on a 3-point basket by Chelsey Dillon with 2:42 left, but Fifer’s jumper and two free throws each by Clay and Fifer put ENMU up 69-66 with just under a minute left.

Jennings twice brought the Bulldogs within a point, hitting two free throws with 49 seconds left and a jumper with 36 seconds to go. Sophomore Alex Ortiz hit 1-of-2 free throws with 20 seconds left for ENMU, and Fifer did likewise with six seconds to go.

The Bulldogs’ Ashley Rush missed a 3-point try at the buzzer.

After the Bulldogs went 15-for-27 in the opening stanza, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range, ENMU limited Southwestern to 32 percent from the floor in the second half. Meantime, the Zias connected on 14-of-30 second-half shots (47 percent) and 15-of-20 from the free throw line, including 8-of-10 in the final two minutes.