Slow start too much for Zias to overcome

ABILENE, Texas — Take away the horrific start, and the Eastern New Mexico University women's basketball team would have had a fighting chance on Saturday.

The Zias managed only two field goals in the first 8 1/2 minutes, fell behind by 19 points midway through the half and missed their first 19 3-point attempts in a 74-56 Lone Star Conference loss to Abilene Christian.

Meantime, the Wildcats (3-1, 2-0 LSC) got a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds from sophomore forward Sadie Dickinson, who had five of the team's 11 3-pointers.

Dickinson's 3-pointer broke the scoring ice about 1 1/2 minutes in, and the Wildcats opened a 7-0 lead before junior guard Alexa Candelaria scored for the Zias off a steal.

ACU eventually opened leads of 17-4 and 30-11 before the Zias began to get their bearings. ENMU closed to 38-26 at the break.

The Zias twice pulled to within 10 points early in the second half before two 3-pointers by Dickinson and one by Kynzie Newman pushed ACU's lead top 49-34 with 14:24 to go.

Senior guard Hannah Altheide ended ENMU's drought from long range with 2:38 left, and Clovis freshman Ashlee Pierson made another on the next trip to make it 68-56, but the Wildcats held the Zias scoreless over the final two-plus minutes.

Senior forward Renata Marquez added 13 points and a team-high four assists for the Wildcats, who shot 46 percent overall (26-of-57) while holding ENMU to 34 percent (20-of-58).

Freshman guard Nelsha Peterson went 5-for-5 from the floor and had a season-best 15 points for the Zias, while Pierson and senior guard Tara Johnson finished with 11 points apiece.

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