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Zias falter late in OT loss to Cameron

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo ENMU junior forward Precious Herrin shoots over Cameron's Sabelle Diata during the first half of Saturday's Lone Star Conference women's crossover game at Greyhound Arena.

PORTALES — A solid 36-minute effort for Eastern New Mexico University’s women went down the drain Saturday in the final four minutes of regulation and overtime.

Leading 72-57 with just over four minutes to go, the Zias wilted against Cameron’s pressure, managing only one more field goal attempt and turning the ball over seven times as the Lady Aggies forced OT with the final 15 points of regulation. Then Cameron dominated the extra session for an 81-74 Lone Star Conference women’s crossover win at Greyhound Arena.

Senior guard Josie Stewart scored 25 points, leading four Cameron players in double figures . The Lady Aggies (2-5) outscored the Zias 24-2 to end the game, with ENMU guard Kiara Tate splitting two free throws twice in overtime.

“I thought we were a real good basketball team for 36 minutes,” Zias coach Linden Weese said. “We just didn’t finish it.

“We got tentative. We started thinking about playing not to lose instead of playing to win.”

Junior forward Precious Herrin, who scored a season-best 28 points on 13-of-23 shooting, converted a baseline jumper with 4:11 to go and things seemed well in hand.

They weren’t.

Cameron’s Nicole Pendarvis tied it on two free throws with 38 seconds left. ENMU (1-5), which led 48-30 with 15 minutes left, then turned the ball over twice in a row but dodged a bullet when Tate forced a turnover on a held ball with 1.4 seconds left.

Tate then took an inbounds pass in backcourt, took three dribbles and banked in a 40-footer — but the clock had already expired.

Pendarvis drained a free throw line jumper 25 seconds into the OT, giving Cameron its first lead since 2-0, and the Lady Aggies pulled away.

“We were aggressive (at the end); we did a really good job of making plays,” Cameron coach Tom Webb said. “I’m very proud of this group.

“It just seemed like the flow was not good. It seemed like we couldn’t get two (consecutive) stops. The press helped us get moving and not be so passive.”

ENMU shot 50 percent up to its fatal finish, and went 8-of-15 from 3-point range. The Zias, though, were outrebounded 48-36 and went just 12-of-24 from the foul line to 25-of-31 for Cameron.

“I just hate it for the kids,” Weese said.

Guard Alexis Williams added 19 points, Pendarvis had 17 and 6-1 junior Sabelle Diata finished with 15 points and 20 rebounds for Cameron. Senior forward Cat Clay had 12 points and nine rebounds and sophomore guard Krista Ford scored 10 points for ENMU.