Zias drop heartbreaker to Pioneers in OT

CNJ staff

DENTON, Texas — Things certainly aren’t going favorably of late for the Eastern New Mexico University women’s basketball team.

Coach Dan Buzard says it’s not for lack of effort.

The Zias overcame a five-point deficit with a 17-5 run to end the half and led virtually all the way in the second half. However, Texas Woman’s Maggy Deweber hit a 3-point shot as time expired to force overtime, and the Pioneers then went 4-for-4 from long range in the extra session to claim a 68-60 Lone Star Conference South Division victory on Saturday.

Senior guard Courtney Colmer and senior forward Ashley Browning both had double-doubles for the Pioneers (12-10, 5-5 South) — Colmer collecting 19 points and 11 rebounds and Browning adding 14 and 10.

ENMU (9-15, 1-9), which got 25 points and seven rebounds from senior post Tiana Bryant, had already lost games by four and two points earlier in the week before coming up short again in this one.

“Outside of the final outcome, we played great,” Buzard said.

Before Deweber’s buzzer-beater made it 52-52, Texas Woman’s (12-10, 5-5) had gone 5-of-20 from 3-point range, including 1-of-7 in the second half.

The Zias also struggled from long range all day, going 2-for-18.

ENMU junior Tiana Bryant, who made 1-of-2 free throws with nine seconds left in regulation for a 3-point lead, put the Zias ahead with 1-of-2 from the line 14 seconds into the overtime. Texas Woman’s then converted 3-pointers on four of its next five possessions, including two by 6-foot-1 junior post Margaret Wimbish.

“Our kids played really hard,” Buzard said. “The second half at Kingsville (a 60-58 loss to Texas A&M-Kingsville on Thursday night) and then today we just really played hard. The kids are starting to understand what we want out of them.

“This is a tough road trip. We’re just running out of luck, I guess, but we’re not running out of effort.”

Junior guard Megan Ratliff added 10 points for the Zias to go with team highs of eight rebounds and four assists.

Also in double figures for the Pioneers were Deweber with 14 points and Wimbish with 13. Wimbish came up one rebound short of giving Texas Woman’s a third double-double.

The Zias overcame a five-point deficit with their half-ending run, taking a 28-21 lead into the break. They extended the margin to 45-36 on a 3-point play by Rosalyn Elliott with 9:39 left.

Texas Woman’s tied the score with an 11-2 run. Then, with the game tied again at 49-49, ENMU’s Heather Brown sank two free throws with 37 seconds left to put the Zias back in front and set the stage for the finish.