By the end of Wednesday night, the playoff fortunes improved just a little bit for Tarleton State. With some help, the same was true for Eastern New Mexico University.
The host TexAnns used a 17-4 run to open the second half, ending all doubt in a 96-58 win over the Zias that kept the TexAnns a game ahead of both Incarnate Word and West Texas A&M for the third spot in the Lone Star Conference standings.
The Zias (7-20, 6-13) remained alive for the seventh spot in the upcoming LSC tournament thanks to Texas A&M-Commerce’s 73-64 home loss to West Texas A&M. The two teams will face off 2 p.m. Saturday to end the regular season, with the winner taking the seventh spot.
As for Wednesday, LSC-leading scorer and rebounder Kiara Wright posted 18 and 22, respectively, to lead the TexAnns (18-7, 14-5), while backup guard Keyra Johnson scored eight of her 14 points in a 25-6 run over an eight-minute stretch in the first half.
Peyton Adamson chipped in 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting for Tarleton, which led 45-27 at the half and never trailed by more than three all night.
Guard Lakeeyscia Griffin played the whole game, scoring 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting for the Zias, while Hannah Altheide and Jasmine Johnson each added 10 points.
Eastern has clinched at least the eighth and final playoff spot for the conference, with the Lions (9-15, 7-12) coming Saturday. An ENMU win would tie the teams in the standings and in the season series — Commerce held serve at home with a 69-59 win Jan. 19 — and give the Zias the seventh spot via tiebreaker.
If a pair of teams are tied in both the standings and head-to-head games, the next tiebreaker is each team’s record against the first-place team in the standings, followed by each team’s record against the second-place team and so on.
The Zias are 1-1 against both conference-leading Midwestern State and second-place Abilene Christian University, while the Lions are 0-2 against both.