Eastern women prevail


February 2, 2018

Eric Murray

Eastern's Daeshi McCants (35) pulls up for a 3-pointer in the second quarter of Thursday's game against Tarleton State at Greyhound Arena. The Hounds prevailed late and won 64-59.

PORTALES — Alivia Lewis' clutch performance in the final minute of Thursday's Lone Star Conference women's basketball matchup against Tarleton State was enough to lift her Greyhounds to victory.

And ENMU, as a result of Lewis' effort, has now won nine of its last 12 games.

"Yeah, she stepped up and made big plays — I was really proud of her," Eastern head coach Josh Prock said of the 6-foot-2 freshman from Albuquerque. "She made big free throws, big rebounds. She's a good player."

Tied at 58-58 with 52 seconds to play, Lewis was sent to the foul line, where she proceeded to make both of her free throws. A missed jumper from Mackenzie Hailey resulted in a Lewis rebound, consequently sending her back to the stripe.

Lewis then split her free throws to extend the Greyhound (12-8, 8-5 LSC) lead to three. Following a Tarleton State (14-7, 8-5) timeout with 45 seconds to play, the TexAnns' Mckinley Bostad tried for a layup down low, but Lewis stuffed her.

After a Mikaehla Connor rebound and ENMU timeout, Lewis found the basket with a fast break lay-in to extend the Hounds' lead to 63-58, with just 17 seconds to play, effectively putting the game on ice.

"Honestly, I don't even think we shoulda been in it," TSU coach Misty Wilson said. "I thought it was kind of a miracle, being outrebounded the way we were and playing with the intensity we were playing with. I just didn't feel like we ever got into a rhythm and never really played hard or executed the offensive game plan."

Wilson's squad had its fair share of struggles in the early going, falling behind 7-0, thanks to a Jasmine Hotchkins trey.

ENMU's sharpshooting would be a common theme in the first half, as the Greyhounds drained 6-of-14 threes and shot 41.4 percent from the field in the half, good enough to carry a 34-25 lead into intermission.

Despite a somewhat sluggish third quarter, Eastern's lead only decreased to seven at the start of the fourth, but then, the Greyhounds went cold.

They went 6:03 without a field goal, while TSU quickly jumped back into it. Katie Webster's bucket with 3:09 to play tied the contest at 54-all, but Eastern soon answered with jumpers from Connor and Sarina Johnson to go back ahead by four.

However, four straight free throws from the TexAnns tied the game once again, but down the stretch, Lewis proved to be too much.

The contributions of Lewis, Johnson and countless others gave the Greyhound bench a 32-6 scoring advantage over Tarleton State on the night. In fact, Eastern's bench has been strong all season, and Thursday was no exception.

"Our bench is a big positive for us. We had several kids with anywhere from seven to nine points," Prock said. "We had a good balance and credit our kids for that. It was a great effort."

ENMU also outrebounded TSU, 49-23, while shooting over seven percent better from the field. For Tarleton, free-throw shooting seemed to be the one constant, as the TexAnns went to the stripe 20 more times than the Greyhounds (38-18), hitting 30 of those for a 78.9 percent clip.

The Hounds will host Texas A&M-Commerce on Saturday at 2 p.m. The conference-leading Lions defeated the Greyhounds in their last meeting back on Dec. 7, 64-57 in overtime.

"They're obviously leading our league," Prock said. "So, we're gonna have to be ready, and it's a little different style than what Tarleton brings."


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