Zias add five players for next year

CNJ staff

PORTALES — Five players have signed national letters of intent to play women’s basketball at Eastern New Mexico University in the 2008-09 season.

They include guards Chelsea Nichols of Lazbuddie, Alex Ortiz of El Paso and Karen Grant of Lubbock, and forwards Kassie Daugherty of Bridgeport, Texas, and Celeste Belizario of Amarillo.

“Overall, it’s a very athletically gifted group of kids,” said Zias coach Linden Weese, who said eight players are scheduled to return from the 2007-08 squad which went 5-22, including 2-12 in the Lone Star Conference South Division. “We were able to add some size as well as some good scorers on the outside.

“I think this bunch is very complimentary to what we have coming back, and I’m looking forward to putting the two groups together.”

The three guards are capable scorers, Weese said. Nichols tallied more than 2,000 points in her career at Lazbuddie and earned Class 1A all-state honors in Texas as a senior.

Ortiz, who played at Eastwood High School, and Grant, who played at Estacado, were all-district selections last season, both averaging around 10 points, five assists and three steals.

The 6-foot Daugherty averaged about 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks at Bridgeport High School, while the 6-1 Belizario scored 14 points and grabbed around 11 rebounds at Tascosa High School. Both were all-district selections.

Weese, entering his third season at ENMU, said he and his staff may add one or two more players.