Tarleton State pulls away from Zias in second half

Freedom New Mexico

STEPHENVILLE, TEXAS — Tarleton State opened the second half with a 10-0 run and pulled away for a 55-43 victory over Eastern New Mexico University in a Lone Star Conference South women’s game Wednesday at Wisdom Gym.

For the first 20 minutes of play, the Zias had things going their way, grabbing a 21-16 lead over the No. 24 TexAnns.

Cat Clay led the Zias (5-13, 0-2 LSC South) with 11 points and Tori Northcutt and Nikki Ingram added eight points each.

Morgan Stehling led Tarleton State (14-2, 2-0) with 15 points and JoAnne Jones added 11.

Tarleton State, which is third in NCAA Division II in scoring defense (50.8 ppg), limited the Zias to 29.5 percent shooting from the field.

Even after the TexAnns scored the first 10 points of the second half to take a 26-21 lead, the Zias hung around until Stehling keyed another run.

Stehling, a 5-9 sophomore from Lorena, Texas, hit a 3-pointer in a layup in a 7-0 run that gave the TexAnns a 41-30 lead midway through the second half to send the Zias to their sixth straight loss.

After shooting less than 25 percent from the field in the first-half, Tarleton connected on more than half (11-of-21) of its shots in the second half.

Lace Clark’s 3-pointer ignited a 13-3 ENMU run in the first half, capped by four straight free throws by Vanessa O’Neal of Clovis. The spurt gave the Zias their largest lead of the game, 19-13, with 4:27 left in the first half.