Freedom New Mexico: Karl Terry Zias freshman Cat Clay shoots over Angelo State’s Kandra Lakey during Saturday’s Lone Star Conference South Division women’s matchup at Greyhound Arena
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
PORTALES — The Eastern New Mexico University women’s basketball team gave Angelo State about a 10-minute head start in Saturday’s Lone Star Conference South Division basketball game.
After that, the Zias more than held their own. They rallied to lead at halftime, then trailed once only briefly until the final two minutes before freshman guard Camille Perkins’ 3-point play put Angelo ahead for good in a 74-70 victory at Greyhound Arena.
On top of that, the Zias lost freshmen Cat Clay and Tori Northcutt to knee injuries in a 14-second span late in the contest. ENMU coach Linden Weese said after the game that the extent of the injuries was not yet known.
It was a tough finish to a spirited comeback from a flat start and a 16-point deficit midway through the first half. Weese, trying to spur his sluggish team, went to pressure defense and the Zias eventually picked up the pace after Angelo picked them apart early.
“We fought hard to get back in it and gave ourselves a chance to win the basketball game,” Weese said. “We came out flat and we had to change that.”
Senior forward Kandra Lakey scored 17 points and junior center Nichelle Parks added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Rambelles (16-3, 3-1 South). The lanky Parks, who also had three blocks, made several key plays on both ends late in the game.
“She’s the best post defender I’ve ever had, and that’s saying something,” Rambelles coach Sally Brooks said of Parks. “And when she can score points like that, we’re going to be hard to beat.”
Sophomore forward Megan Kabrick led all scorers with 18 points for ENMU (3-14, 0-4), while freshman guard Blythe McPherson came off the bench for 12 points. Meantime, Clay, who had 12 rebounds, and Northcutt each scored 11 points before going down.
“Megan Kabrick gave us a great ballgame,” Weese said. “A lot of stuff she does for us doesn’t show up in the stats, but she had a good game on both ends.”
Clay gave the Zias a lift late in the half, finishing the stanza with a double-double — 11 points, 10 rebounds. ENMU outscored the Rambelles 28-10 over the final 10 minutes of the half, taking a 38-36 lead at the break on sophomore Stephanie Bailey’s 10-foot jumper as time expired.
The Zias built a 53-47 lead on Northcutt’s third 3-pointer of the night with 12:14 left, but they then scored only three points — a 3-pointer by Kabrick — over the next five minutes as Angelo stayed close.
Lakey converted two free throws to make it 68-66, then Perkins scored a back-door layup and added a free throw on the next trip down to put the Rambelles in front for good with 1:29 left.
Parks added a rebound basket and two free throws, the latter coming with 4.9 seconds left, to seal the outcome.
“I thought our rebounding in the second half made the difference,” Brooks said. “And we made our free throws at the end when we needed to.”