Zias rebound from blowout loss

Freedom Newspapers

DENTON, Texas —Bouncing back from a 47-point loss on Monday at rival West Texas A&M, the Eastern New Mexico University women’s basketball team gutted out a 62-57 Lone Star Conference South Division victory Thursday night over Texas Woman’s.

Juniors Riikka Lehtonen and Tiana Bryant led a balanced Zias attack, each scoring 12 points. Sophomore guard Heather Brown added 11 points while senior Mika Robertson posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Robertson converted two game-clinching free throws with 22 seconds left as ENMU (8-10, 2-3 South) ended the game on a 10-2 run.

Lehtonen had four blocks and seven rebounds for the Zias, while Bryant added three steals and seven rebounds.

Down 39-24 early in the second half, the Pioneers (9-8, 2-3) scored 16 unanswered points to take their first lead. They took their biggest lead (55-52) on two free throws by guard Matayla McBath with 3:09 left, but didn’t score again until the final 30 seconds.

“We really executed well offensively,” acting ENMU women’s coach Dustin Klafka said. “Defensively we responded really well from the WT game.”

Ashley Browning and Mandy Darwin scored 14 points each and McBath added 10 for TWU, but the Pioneers hit only 2-of-16 shots from 3-point range while ENMU was 6-for-12.
“We did a good job of executing our game plan,” Klafka said. “We didn’t really give them many good looks.”

The Zias were up by as much 13 points in the first half. They led 34-24 at halftime, shooting 56 percent (15-of-27) in the opening 20 minutes.