Zias hang on late to turn back Lions

PNT Staff

COMMERCE, Texas — The Eastern New Mexico University women’s basketball team may not be going to the Lone Star Conference postseason tournament, but the Zias made it a little harder for Texas A&M-Commerce Thursday night.
Senior forward Mika Robertson posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds and scored the Zias’ final four points from the free throw line in ENMU’s 71-67 victory over the Lions.
The Zias (10-14, 4-7 South Division) put four players in double figures and led virtually all the way in avenging a loss to Commerce (12-12, 7-4) by the same score in January at Greyhound Arena. Sophomore guard Heather Brown had four of the team’s season-best 10 3-pointers and finished with 16 points, while juniors Tiana Bryant and Tia Doss scored 12 apiece.
“Mika had a good night; she just let the game come to her tonight,” acting ENMU women’s coach Dustin Klafka said. “I don’t know what their game plan was, but they didn’t really come out and guard our (peri-meter) shooters and that really helped us.”
The Zias close the regular season with games against the other second-division teams in the South — all of whom they have beaten — and could still tie the Lions, who finish against the top three teams. Even if it happened, though, Commerce has a tie-breaker over the Zias by virtue of a win at West Texas A&M.
“It was a pretty good basketball game,” Klafka said. “I thought we played about as well as we could have on both ends of the floor.”
Freshman Katedria Mosley led Commerce with 24 points and 10 rebounds, but the team’s leading scorer, senior guard Hazel Woods, and current South player of the Week Althea Byfield each managed only two points.
The Zias, who shot 52 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range, took the lead for good at 25-19 on 3-pointers by Loren Scarlett and Robertson. They built the margin to 40-31 at halftime, then stretched it to 15 points just over a minute into the second half on 3-pointers by Robertson and Erika Cook.
Another 3-pointer by Brown made it 51-36 with 16 minutes left.
“I thought our run to start the second half was key for us,” Klafka said. “At our place, we let them have the first run of the second half.
“We won the first five minutes of the second half tonight, and that was big.”
Still trailing by 12 with seven minutes to go, the Lions began chipping away and closed to 67-65 on a basket by Mosley with 2:52 to go.
On the next trip down, Robertson was fouled by Commerce’s Alicia Johnson on a 3-point attempt and sank all three shots for a five-point lead. Her free throw with 12 seconds left made it a two-possession game and finished the scoring.

Lone Star Conference South
ENMU 71, Texas A&M-Commerce 67
Eastern New Mexico (10-14, 4-7) —
Mika Robertson 4-8 6-7 17, Tiana Bryant 5-8 1-2 12, Riikka Lehtonen 0-1 0-0 0, Heather Brown 6-13 0-1 16, Erika Cook 2-4 0-0 5, Tia Doss 5-9 2-2 12, Kelsie Hawkins 0-0 0-0 0, Casey Rodriguez 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Davidson 2-3 0-0 4, Loren Scarlett 2-4 0-0 5. Totals 26-50 9-12 71.
Texas A&M-Commerce (12-12, 7-4) — Althea Byfield 1-8 0-0 2, Katedria Mosley 9-23 6-7 24, Portia Mitchell 8-22 3-4 19, Jennifer McCord 4-8 1-1 11, Hazel Woods 1-5 0-0 3, Alisha Holloway 0-1 0-0 0, Alicia Johnson 2-8 2-2 8. Totals 25-75 67.
Halftime — Eastern New Mexico 40, Texas A&M-Commerce 31. 3-pointers — Eastern New Mexico 10-24 (Brown 4-11, Robertson 3-7, Cook 1-1, Scarlett 1-2, Bryant 1-3), Texas A&M-Commerce 5-18 (Johnson 2-5, McCord 2-6, Woods 1-5, Mosley 0-2). Rebounds — Eastern New Mexico 35 (Robertson 10), Texas A&M-Commerce 42 (Mosley 10). Assists — Eastern New Mexico 22 (Robertson 6, Rodriguez 6), Texas A&M-Commerce 20 (Byfield 7). Total fouls — Eastern New Mexico 14, Texas A&M-Commerce 13. Fouled out — none. A — 348.