ENMU senior Riikka Lehtonen goes hard to the basket during the Zias’ Lone Star Conference South Division game against Angelo State Saturday at Greyhound Arena. (Freedom Newspapers: Karl Terry)
By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers
PORTALES — The kids outside Greyhound Arena cruising through the snow on their sleds and the Eastern New Mexico University Zias were both headed in the same direction Saturday afternoon — down.
After a competitive first half, Angelo State opened the second half on a 25-6 run and the Rambelles closed out a 77-50 rout of ENMU in a Lone Star Conference South women’s matchup.
The loss is the Zias’ third in a row, and ENMU (9-7, 0-4) remains winless in the South.
“We didn’t play well the first half, either,” first-year Zias coach Linden Weese said. “It was mostly due to a lack of effort on our part. I’d like to give Angelo credit, but we just didn’t play well at all.”
Angelo State coach Sally Walling-Brooks was relieved to see her team to snap out of a two-game losing skid.
“I was really happy,” Walling-Brooks said. “We played good defense, we rebounded the ball, we took care of the ball. Eastern put a lot of pressure on the ball.”
The Rambelles (10-6, 2-2) went into the break leading 31-29 after a last-second 3-pointer by ENMU’s Roni Gomez, but just five minutes into the second half they opened a 12-point margin. And the lead kept growing.
“This was a huge win for us,” Walling-Brooks said. “We’ve lost two in a row, and we don’t lose three in a row around here, so for us to stay in the race we had to win this.”
Junior forward Kandra Lakey and senior guard Asheia Haynes led all scorers with 17 points each for Angelo State, and Lakey also completed a double-double with a game-high 11 rebounds. Senior forward Elizabeth Richards topped the Zias with 10 points before fouling out.
“They’re really one of the best teams in this conference,” Weese said. “We just didn’t do the things we needed to do to stay in this game.”
The Zias begin a four-game road swing through the South Thursday on when they play Midwestern State at Wichita Falls, Texas.