St. Mary’s rallies past Zias

CNJ Staff

SAN ANTONIO — Senior forward Ashton Benford scored 22 points and
grabbed 13 rebounds, and St. Mary’s recovered from a slow start to beat
Eastern New Mexico University 65-52 Tuesday night in The Rattlers’ New
Year’s Classic.

Benford shot 10-for-17 from the field, and the Rattlers (11-1) also
got 12 points and nine rebounds from senior forward Farren Fox in
winning their ninth game in a row.

The game seesawed well into the second half. The Zias took a 49-48
lead on a three-point play by sophomore Til-Lois Fifer with 6:36 left,
but St. Mary’s held them to one field goal the rest of the way and
finished the game on a 17-3 run.

Sophomore forward Cat Clay poured in 18 points for the Zias (7-6),
including two 3-pointers to help stake ENMU to an 8-0 lead in just over
two minutes. The Zias held the lead most of the entire first half, but
the Rattlers pulled even 28-28 at the break.

St. Mary’s opened a six-point lead early in the second half, but a
3-pointer by Til-Lois Fifer and a jumper by Clay gave ENMU a 41-40 lead
midway through the second half.

The Rattlers responded with an 8-0 run, but the Zias countered with
eight in a row, taking a 49-48 lead on Fifer’s three-point play with
6:36 left.

Guard Rachel Jones added 10 points for St. Mary’s, while Fifer finished with 12 points and eight rebounds for ENMU.

In the first game, Ouachita Baptist defeated Texas
A&M-Kingsville 98-85. ENMU takes on Texas A&M-International
(3-8) at 1 p.m. today (MST) followed by St. Mary’s against Ouachita
Baptist (7-2) to wrap up the event.