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Zias' hot shooting overcomes turnover woes

Eastern New Mexico University junior Laci Lee drives to the basket. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.

PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico continued its schizophrenic offensive ways, countering splendid shooting with sloppy ball handling in Thursday’s 84-63 win over Tarleton State in a Lone Star Conference women’s crossover game.

Jereena Bosket led a balanced attack with 18 points as the Zias (7-8) shot a school record 68 percent from the field, including 7-of-9 from 3-point range, while winning for the third time in four games.

But Eastern finished with 30 turnovers for a second-straight game.

“We give up the ball in spots that we don’t have to,” Eastern second-year coach Dan Buzard said. “We’re just making lazy passes and we’re not cutting hard enough and allowing (defenders) to cut through.

“If we can cut down on the turnovers, who knows how good we can be?”

Still, Buzard said the Zias have made tremendous strides heading into the meat of their conference schedule over last year, when they went 7-20.

“We’re a more experienced team,” Buzard said. “We’re getting some pretty good leadership on and off the floor. It can’t come from just the coaches.”

Loren Scarlett and Laci Lee added 17 points each for the Zias, who finally put away the improved TexAnns (7-8) with a 17-2 run late in the second half.

Led by a near perfect night by Scarlett, Eastern finished 28-of-41 from the field.

Tarleton State, which has already matched last season’s win total under first-year coach Ronnie Hearne, cut a 17-point Zia lead to 61-58 with a little more than seven minutes to go.

Heather Brown’s 3-pointer started the decisive spurt. Scarlett added a 3-pointer and two free throws as Eastern scored on seven-straight possessions against the tiring TexAnns.

“Heather and Loren stepped up and hit some big shots,” Buzard said. “This year we have a lot of people who are willing to step up and take a big shot.”

Scarlett, a 6-foot-1 junior from Throckmorton, Texas, was a perfect 4-of-4 from 3-point range from the top of the key.

“We didn’t play with a lot of intensity tonight,” said Scarlett, who hit all her 3s from the top of the key. “But it was good to win one home.”

Tarleton State shot a respectable 45 percent from the field, but were unable to get the big defensive stop.

“We didn’t get out and pressure the ball and we didn’t have any help-side defense,” Hearne said. “The few times that we played defense like we were supposed to we were able to make a run.”

Junior post TaNesiah Lamb led Tarleton State with 17 points and sophomore guard Casey Davies added 12 before fouling out.

The Zias finished with almost as many turnovers (16) as field goal attempts (18) en route to a 39-28 halftime lead.

Scarlett was one of three Zias who finished with nine points in the half, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range.

Her third 3-pointer from the top of the key gave Eastern a 21-10 lead midway through the half.

The TexAnns chopped the deficit to 27-24 on a one-handed runner in the lane, but Brown and Bosket fueled a 12-4 run to end the half.

ENMU 84, Tarleton State 63

Tarleton State (7-7) — TaNesiah Lamb 6-13 5-7 17, ArcTrena Stills 2-4 0-0 4, Charise Billingsley 1-4 0-0 2, Katie Crawford 1-7 0-0 3, LaTonia Gilbert 4-11 0-0 9, Ashton Jenkins 0-4 0-0 0, JacqueRae Hill 1-2 0-0 2, Michelle Martin 3-5 0-0 8, Kara Stowe 0-0 0-0 0, Reatina Rogers 0-0 0-0 0, Amanda Roche 0-3 0-0 0, Casey Davies 5-7 2-2 12, Amanda Franklin 3-3 0-0 6. Totals 26-63 7-9 63.

ENMU (7-8) — Elizabeth Richards 6-9 2-2 14, Loren Scarlett 5-5 3-4 17, Jereena Bosket 5-10 8-10 18, Heather Brown 3-4 6-6 14, Laci Lee 8-11 0-0 17, Casey Rodriguez 0-0 0-0 0, Mika Robertson 0-0 0-0 0, Kristi McGuire 0-0 2-2 2, Ashley Golden 0-0 0-0 0, Tiana Bryant 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 28-41 21-24 84.

Halftime — ENMU 39, Tarleton State 28. 3-pointers — Tarleton State 4-17 (Martin 2-4, Crawford 1-4, Gilbert 1-5, Billingsley 0-1, Rogers 0-2, Davies 0-2), ENMU 7-9 (Scarlett 4-4, Brown 2-3, Lee 1-1, Richards 0-1). Rebounds — Tarleton State 17 (Davies, Jenkins 3), ENMU 32 (Bosket, Brown 7). Assists — Tarleton State 12 (Crawford 6), ENMU 18 (Brown 6). Total fouls — Tarleton State 19, ENMU 10. Fouled out — Davies. A — 300.