The win marks the first consecutive victories for the Zias over Texas Woman’s since sweeping a Lone Star Conference South Division series, during the 2004-05 season. Eastern notched a 69-68 win over TWU, last season on Cat Clay’s (Sr., F, Deming, N.M./Deming HS) trey with four seconds left. Eastern’s last road victory in the series came on January 27, 2005, as ENMU dropped their last four road games against the Pioneers, prior to today’s victory.
Herrin’s go-ahead basket ignited a 10-0 Zia run, giving Eastern a 16-7 lead, just 5:21 into the game. The Pioneers managed to cut their deficit to four points on three occasions, the last coming at 24-20 on a Taja Guerin jumper with 4:37 left in the opening half, but ENMU closed the period with a 6-0 run, capped by a Clay three-point basket to hold a 30-20 edge at intermission.
Tabbatha Thurman scored the first three points of the second half, sparking a 9-2 run over the initial 2:39 of the period, pulling the Pioneers to within three points, 32-29, but an 11-2 Zia surge, capped by two Herrin free throws ballooned Eastern’s lead to 43-31, with 11:43 left. Texas Woman’s answered with an 11-3 run over the next 5:25 of play, pulling back to within four points, 46-42, but could come no closer as the Zias pulled away for the win.
Eastern scored 18 points on 26 TWU turnovers, while the Pioneers managed 10 points on 16 Zia miscues. ENMU held a major advantage at the free throw line, converting on 18 of their 25 attempts (72%), while the Pioneers hit five of their nine shots from the charity stripe. After connecting on one of their two free throw attempts in the opening half, the Zias went 17-for-23 from the line in the second half.
Herrin scored a game-high 18 points, and had six rebounds and four steals. Clay poured in 11 points and grabbed eight boards, reaching double figures for the first time since last seasons’ finale. Krista Ford (So., G, Lubbock, Texas/Frenship HS) scored a career-high 15 points, while Kiara Tate (Jr., G, Chicago, Ill./Southridge HS/McLennan CC) chipped in nine points, three assists and four steals. Brooke Shepherd paced Texas Woman’s with 14 points, while Thurmond added 13 points.
The Eastern New Mexico University women’s basketball team will return to action on Monday evening, when they play at Texas A&M-Commerce in another LSC crossover. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. MST.