Zias lose in New Year’s tourney

Freedom New Mexico

SAN ANTONIO — Senior forward Ashton Benford scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and St. Mary’s recovered from a slow start to beat Eastern New Mexico University 65-52 Tuesday night in The Rattlers’ New Year’s Classic.

Benford shot 10-for-17 from the field, and the Rattlers (11-1) also got 12 points and nine rebounds from senior forward Farren Fox in winning their ninth game in a row.

The game seesawed well into the second half. The Zias took a 49-48 lead on a three-point play by sophomore Til-Lois Fifer with 6:36 left, but St. Mary’s held them to one field goal the rest of the way and finished the game on a 17-3 run.

Sophomore forward Cat Clay poured in 18 points for the Zias (7-6), including two 3-pointers to help stake ENMU to an 8-0 lead in just over two minutes. The Zias held the lead most of the entire first half, but the Rattlers pulled even 28-28 at the break.

St. Mary’s opened a six-point lead early in the second half, but a 3-pointer by Til-Lois Fifer and a jumper by Clay gave ENMU a 41-40 lead midway through the second half.

The Rattlers responded with an 8-0 run, but the Zias countered with eight in a row, taking a 49-48 lead on Fifer’s three-point play with 6:36 left.
Guard Rachel Jones added 10 points for St. Mary’s, while Fifer finished with 12 points and eight rebounds for ENMU.

In the first game, Ouachita Baptist defeated Texas A&M-Kingsville 98-85. ENMU takes on Texas A&M-International (3-8) at 1 p.m. today (MST) followed by St. Mary’s against Ouachita Baptist (7-2) to wrap up the event.

Tuesday
St. Mary’s New Year’s Classic
At San Antonio

St. Mary’s 65, ENMU 52

Eastern New Mexico (7-6) — Cat Clay 7-17 0-0 18, Til-Lois Fifer 4-15 3-4 12, Kara Bible 3-5 0-0 6, Vanessa O’Neal 2-5 3-4 7, Tori Northcutt 1-4 1-2 3, Samantha Matta 0-1 0-0 0, Kassie Daugherty 0-0 0-0 0, Celeste Belizario 3-7 0-0 6. Totals 20-54 7-10 52.
St. Mary’s (11-1) — Farren Fox 5-13 2-2 12, Ashton Benford 10-17 2-4 22, Rachel Jones 4-7 2-2 10, Chasity Noble 3-6 1-2 9, Natalie Gamez 1-8 6-6 8, Jessie Smith 1-2 0-0 3, Amber Sophus 0-0 0-0 0, Lesleigh Phillips 0-2 1-2 1, Stephanie Gurnell 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 24-57 14-18 65.
Halftime — tied 28-28. 3-pointers — Eastern New Mexico 5-15 (Clay 4-12, Fifer 1-2, Northcutt 0-1), St. Mary’s 3-11 (Noble 2-5, Smith 1-1, Benford 0-1, Fox 0-2, Gamez 0-2). Rebounds — Eastern New Mexico 31 (Fifer 8), St. Mary’s 38 (Benford 13). Assists — Eastern New Mexico 15 (Northcutt 9), St. Mary’s 13 (Gamez 4). Total fouls — Eastern New Mexico 15, St. Mary’s 12. Fouled out — none. Technicals — Eastern New Mexico bench. A — 250.