Freedom New Mexico
DURANT, Okla. — Junior guard Niki Nester scored 17 points, leading four starters in double figures as Southeastern Oklahoma fought off Eastern New Mexico University’s women for a 77-69 Lone Star Conference crossover victory on Saturday.
The Savage Storm (10-2), who had an eight-game winning streak snapped with a loss to West Texas A&M on Thursday, also got 15 points and 11 rebounds from junior guard-forward Whitney Coffey. Guards Christin Nichols and Bailey Welch added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Senior guard Vanessa O’Neal scored 11 points for the Zias (2-10), who made a game of it most of the way despite shooting 37 percent from the floor.
Southeastern scored the game’s first six points and opened a 19-9 lead on a 3-pointers by Nester with 10:40 left in the half. Guard Hannah Altheide’s 3-pointer started a 14-2 run by ENMU, capped when guard Kiara Tate’s 3-pointer with seven minutes left in the half gave the Zias their first lead.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Lace Clark put ENMU in front 29-26 lead, and Krista Ford’s layup made it 31-26 with 3:25 left in the half. Southeastern regained the lead with six unanswered points, but senior Cat Clay’s 3-pointer with six seconds to go put ENMU ahead 34-32 at halftime.
The Savage Storm led most of the way in the second half. ENMU’s lone advantage came on a layup by senior center Kara Bible, making it 41-40 with 17:44 to go.
Coffey got inside for a layup on Southeastern’s next trip and, except for three ties, the Savage Storm led the rest of the way. Nichols converted a pair of free throws with 8:11 left to break the final tie.
Southeastern had three fewer field goals than the Zias, but converted 27-of-34 free throws to 9-of-16 for ENMU.
ENMU opens LSC South Division play at home on Wednesday in a 6 p.m. tipoff against Texas A&M-Kingsville.