Mustangs ride big second-half run to beat Zias

Freedom New Mexico: Liliana Castillo Eastern New Mexico’s Celeste Belizario takes a shot over Midwestern State’s Rosy Ofoegbu during the first half of Saturday night’s game at Greyhound Arena.

Freedom New Mexico

Eastern New Mexico University’s women were in position to get their first Lone Star Conference South Division win Saturday night, but they couldn’t overcome a long dry spell.

Midwestern State erased a three-point deficit with under 14 minutes left by going on a 16-0 run and the Mustangs had just enough at the end to hold on for a 64-59 victory at Greyhound Arena.

ENMU (9-19, 0-10 South) saw its losing streak reach 11 games despite coming back to get within a point in the final minute on a 3-pointer by sophomore point guard Tori Northcutt. Midwestern State (8-15, 3-6), which ended a four-game losing streak of its own, locked up the game on a layup by Rosy Ofoegbu with 18 seconds left and two free throws by Michele Kenney with two seconds to go.

Senior center Regiane Araujo led Midwestern State with 16 points, while Ofoegbu and Cierra Thompson scored 10 apiece. The Zias got 13 points from sophomore forward Til-Lois Fifer and 10 each from sophomore forward Cat Clay and freshman guard Lace Clark.

The Zias led for much of the first half, building a 13-6 lead on Northcutt’s basket with just over seven minutes gone.

Midwestern State rallied to tie the score on a basket by Araujo with five minutes left in the half. The Zias then scored the next five points and opend a 30-25 lead with two minutes to go, but the Mustangs scored the final nine points of the half for a 34-30 advantage.

Fifer’s 3-pointer with 16:02 left gave the Zias a 40-38 lead. A basket by Vanessa O’Neal and a free throw by Kassie Daugherty made it 43-40 with 13:53 to go. Ofoegbu scored four points to start the run and give Midwestern the lead, and Karissa Lang’s 3-pointer capped it at the 8:13 mark.

ENMU mounted its own run of 11-0, closing to 58-56 with 1:189 left on two free throws by Celeste Belizario. Araujo’s layup with 1:01 left broke the streak for Midwestern, but Northcutt’s 3-pointer pulled ENMU to 60-59 at the 41-second mark.

Both teams shot under 35 percent from the field. ENMU dominated the boards 52-42, led by eight rebounds each from Clay and Fifer.