Hot-shooting WT posts easy win over Zias

By Dave Wagner
Sports writer
dwagner@cnjonline.com
PORTALES — West Texas A&M was just kind of “on” its game in the first half on Saturday night.

Staff photo: Joshua Lucero ENMU junior point guard Shayla Williams shoots over a West Texas A&M defender during Saturday’s Lone Star Conference women’s basketball game at Greyhound Arena. The LSC-leading Lady Buffs cruised to a 102-51 victory over the Zias.

Staff photo: Joshua Lucero
ENMU junior point guard Shayla Williams shoots over a West Texas A&M defender during Saturday’s Lone Star Conference women’s basketball game at Greyhound Arena. The LSC-leading Lady Buffs cruised to a 102-51 victory over the Zias.

The rest of the way, the seventh-ranked Lady Buffs shot the lights out.

WT shot 50 percent in the first half, but hit 3-pointers on its first three trips down the floor in the second half en route to a 102-51 Lone Star Conference women’s thumping of Eastern New Mexico University at Greyhound Arena.

The Lady Buffs (16-2, 7-1 LSC) are tough enough to beat when they are shooting a normal percentage (49 percent for the year). When they open a half 16-of-19, including 8-of-9 from 3-point range, it’s probably too much for most teams.

“They’re really good,” ENMU women’s coach Josh Prock said. “(But) tonight’s on me. I just have to do a better job with our team.”

The Zias (6-12, 2-6) came out playing right with their rivals. They led on four occassions in the first eight minutes, and were still down 20-17 at the 11-minute mark.

“We were giving them open shots early, but we settled down and did a much better job,” first-year WT coach Mark Kellogg said of his team’s defense.

That’s when the Lady Buffs took off, finishing the half on an 11-0 run over the last four minutes for a 47-25 lead at the break.

As if that weren’t enough, they opened the second half with the trio of 3s, two of them by junior guard Madison McLain, and they were off to the races.

“We think (among) our strengths is our balance and depth,” Kellogg said. “We have lots of hids who can score in lots of ways.”

Six players finished in double figures for the Lady Buffs. Junior guards Michaela Neuhaus, who went 4-for-4 from 3-point range, and and Sasha Watson shared team scoring honors with 14 points, while  seniors Ariel Robertson and Chontiquah White each had 13.

The Zias have been able to erase some sizable deficits, including in a win at Angelo State, but it was too much to get behind against this team.

“You get behind 20-plus points and they’ll get after you,” Prock said.

The only area the Lady Buffs struggled a bit was in turnovers, where they had 19 to 16 for ENMU. But it hardly mattered.

ENMU got 15 points from junior guard Sarah Stinnett, including 12 in the first half, and 10 from senior forward Tori Tucker.

With the conference slate halfway completed, Prock said the Zias still have a chance to make some inroads.

“I told the kids they have to keep their heads up,” he said. “We’ve had a tough stretch, but there’s still eight games left.”