ENMU squads receive tough tourney draws

Dave Wagner

Three of Eastern New Mexico University’s four injured players could be available today when the sixth-seeded Greyhounds take on rival West Texas A&M in an 11 a.m. (MST) quarterfinal of the Lone Star Conference men’s basketball tournament at Allen, Texas.

Senior guard Stefan Mirabal (hamstring) has missed the team’s last five games, while senior forwards Aaron Edwards (shoulder) and Max Carrier (knees, back) have been out for seven and eight games, respectively.

Edwards was back at practice on Sunday and the other two worked out Monday, coach Andrew Helton said, adding that he’s not sure how much they’ll be able to contribute. The only one who has been ruled out is sophomore forward Daniel Strong.

“It’ll be helpful if any of them play some,” Helton said.

The ENMU women (10-16), seeded eighth, face top-seeded Tarleton State (20-8) in the final women’s quarterfinal game, set for 7:30 p.m. (MST) on Thursday.

Helton said the Hounds (14-13), who have clinched their first non-losing season since 2003-04, have competed reasonably well with a short deck of late, except for a loss at Angelo State in mid-February.

ENMU managed a split with the third-seeded Buffaloes, losing at Canyon 71-68 and winning at Greyhound Arena 68-66 in a span of four days in mid-January.

“They’re a really good team, and well-coached,” Helton said of WT (18-7). “Whenever you’ve got to play the third seed in this league, it’s a challenge.”

Helton said frontrunners Midwestern State and Tarleton State are probably the teams to beat, but noted that anybody can beat anybody on a given night.

“The whole league’s good,” he said. “There’s really not a bad team in the league.”

The Zias won a big game at home last week against fourth-place Cameron to position themselves to make the field. They’re in the LSC meet for the first time in eight years.

First-year coach Lindsey Wilson has had the Zias competitive in most of their games this season, including a 78-70 loss to Tarleton in January at Greyhound Arena.

“This time of year everybody’s 0-0,” Wilson said. “We have nothing to lose.

“We know what they’re going to do, and they know what we’re going to do. It comes down to who’s able to execute.”

Wilson said her team will have to compete with the TexAnns on the boards to have a shot at an upset.

“We have to rebound the ball on both ends of the floor,” she said.

ENMU TOURNAMENT CAPSULES
Men
No. 6 ENMU (14-13)
vs. No. 3 West Texas A&M (18-7)

What: Lone Star Conference tournament quarterfinals
When: 11 a.m. (MST) today
Where: Allen Event Center, Allen, Texas
Radio: KSEL-AM 105.9.
Last time out: The Greyhounds lost at fifth-ranked Midwestern State 79-64 on Saturday. The Buffaloes lost at Cameron 67-61 on Saturday.
Season series: The teams met back-to-back during the LSC’s “rivalry week” and split, with WT winning 71-68 at Canyon and ENMU returning the favor 68-66 at Portales.
Of note: This is the Hounds’ second consecutive trip to the LSC tournament after a five-year absence. They lost to Central Oklahoma 100-78 in the quarterfinal round last year. … WT has dominated the all-time series 61-15. The Hounds and Buffs have never in the LSC tournament. … The Buffs have two of the league’s top 10 scorers in 6-5 junior F Donald Sims (14.0 ppg, seventh) and 6-4 junior G Kennon Washington (13.6, ninth). Washington, though, is listed as day-to-day after sustaining an Achilles injury at Cameron. … WT is third in NCAA Division II in scoring defense (57.9 ppg), but second in the LSC behind Tarleton State (56.9). … ENMU senior G Reggie Nelson ranks second in the LSC in scoring at 16.2 ppg, FT shooting (86 percent) and leads the league in 3-point shooting (44 percent). … The winner faces either second-seeded Tarleton or No. 7 Texas A&M-Kingsville in a 4 p.m. (MST) semifinal on Friday.

Women
No. 8 ENMU (10-16)
vs. No. 1 Tarleton State (20-8)

What: Lone Star Conference tournament quarterfinals
When: 7:30 p.m. (MST) Thursday
Where: Allen Event Center, Allen, Texas
Radio: KSEL-AM 105.9.
Last time out: The Zias led most of the way before losing at Midwestern State 64-55 on Saturday. The Lady Buffs won at Cameron 68-65 on Saturday.
Season series: The TexAnns took both matchups, winning 78-70 at Portales and 73-48 at Stephenville, Texas.
Of note: The Zias are making their first appearance in the conference tourney since losing to Northeastern State in quarterfinals of the 2004 event. … For what it’s worth, TSU is 0-3 this season on neutral courts, although those games came in November. The TexAnns were 2-5 coming into league play, then won 15 in a row (including a 14-0 LSC start) before finishing 3-3 down the stretch. … Sisters Peyton and Shelly Adamson led the team in scoring at 13.9 and 13.5 ppg, respectively. Peyton, a 5-7 sophomore G and transfer from Division I Mo.-Kansas City, shoots a conference-best 93 percent (81-of-87) from the FT line, while Shelby is third in the league in assists (4.9 apg). Also, 6-1 sophomore P Kiara Wright missed 10 games this season with injury but averages 12.7 ppg and 10.2 rpg. … ENMU senior F Precious Herrin is second in the LSC in scoring (16.2 ppg), FG shooting (53 percent) and blocked shots (2.3 bpg), while senior G Kiara Tate trails only Peyton Adamson in FT shooting (84 percent, 129-of-154). … The winner plays either fourth-seeded Cameron or No. 5 Angelo State in a 1:30 p.m. (MST) semifinal on Saturday.

— Compiled by Dave Wagner