Zias wipe out halftime deficit, knock off Skyhawks in opener

By Dave Wagner

Mika Robertson committed a cardinal sin — fouling a 3-point shooter — and with time running out in the half, no less.
Fort Lewis’ Nicole Quast sank all three free throws, giving the visiting Skyhawks a 13-point lead over Eastern New Mexico University at the intermission.
Not to worry, though, Robertson said.
The 5-foot-9 senior poured in three 3-pointers after the break and helped key a strong defensive effort by the Zias, who held Fort Lewis to 16 second-half points and rallied for a season-opening 57-53 win at Greyhound Arena.
“We just started off kind of rough; it was first-game jitters,” said Robertson, who finished with a game-best 19 points, easily surpassing her high since transferring to ENMU from South Plains College last season. She also had a game-high eight rebounds.
The Skyhawks got off to a fast start from long range, hitting 8-of-14 in the opening half in building their 37-24 cushion. But they scored on just one of their first 17 possessions in the second half, committing 10 turnovers in that time.
“They shot the lights out in the first half,” said Robertson, who had to spend time last year playing in the post because of the Zias’ lack of inside depth. “We just stayed with them on defense and finished the game out right.”
ENMU acting head coach Dustin Klafka said he knew the Skyhawks could shoot the ball.
“We didn’t score very well in the first half, but the problem wasn’t on offense,” he said. “We weren’t getting (defensive) close-outs on them.
“This was a game where we wanted to get good on-ball pressure, and we were just a step slow. I thought we really picked up the on-ball pressure in the second half.”
The Zias, 1-for-7 from 3-point range in the first half, went 4-for-7 after the break. They took the lead 44-43 with 8:07 left on a basket by junior Tia Doss as the shot clock was about to run out.
ENMU stayed in front the rest of the way, although never leading by more than five points. Robertson missed a 1-and-1 free throw with 19 seconds remaining and the Zias up by two, but guard Heather Brown helped force a turnover by Quast on the Skyhawks’ next trip down.
ENMU’s Laci Lee then clinched it by hitting two free throws with 1.5 seconds left.
Neither Lee nor Brown, the Zias’ starting guards, scored in the first half. But Robertson (9 points) and senior Tiana Bryant (8) helped keep the team within some striking distance.
“We’ve got kids who can hit shots,” Klafka said. “Laci and Heather are going to score.
“Offensively, we’re a little sluggish right now. We’ve just got to get to where we understand the concept of the offense.”
Bryant finished with 12 points for the Zias. Quast went 4-of-6 from long range and had 15 points for the Skyhawks, while junior guard Amie Moulton scored 13.

ENMU 57, Fort Lewis 53
Fort Lewis (0-1) —
Nicole Quast 4-8 3-3 15, Stephanie Kosters 1-1 0-0 2, Amy Mohr 3-11 0-1 7, Amie Moulton 3-8 6-6 13, Jamie Pratt 2-9 0-0 6, Kayla Brown 1-4 0-0 3, Lauren Redfern 0-1 0-0 0, Lindsay Adcock 0-1 0-0 0. Erin O’Connor 1-4 2-2 4, Micah Jones 1-1 0-0 3, Kellie Becker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-49 11-12 53.
Eastern New Mexico (1-0) — Tia Doss 3-6 3-4 9, Mika Robertson 6-12 3-7 19, Tiana Bryant 6-13 0-0 12, Heather Brown 1-3 0-2 2, Laci Lee 3-7 2-2 9, Riikka Lehtonen 1-4 2-2 4, Casey Rodriguez 0-1 0-0 0, Ashley Davidson 0-0 0-0 0, Dynesha Johnson 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 21-47 10-17 57.
Halftime — Fort Lewis 37, Eastern New Mexico 24. 3-pointers — Fort Lewis 10-25 (Quast 4-6, Pratt 2-8, Jones 1-1, K. Brown 1-2, Mohr 1-2, Moulton 1-5, Redfern 0-1), Eastern New Mexico 5-14 (Robertson 4-8, Lee 1-3, H. Brown 0-1, Bryant 0-1, Rodriguez 0-1). Rebounds — Fort Lewis 36 (Mohr, Quast 6), Eastern New Mexico 28 (Robertson 8). Assists — Fort Lewis 10 (Pratt 4), Easterbn New Mexico 9 (Brown 3). Total fouls — Fort Lewis 16, Eastern New Mexico 17. Fouled out — Mohr. A — 545.