ENMU women wrap up No. 5 seed
Last updated 2/29/2020 at 5:26pm
PORTALES — Sophomore guard Zamorye Cox led four players in double figures with 16 points, and Eastern New Mexico University’s women subdued Midwestern State 77-60 on Saturday at Greyhound Arena to lock up the No. 5 seed in next week’s Lone Star Conference tournament.
ENMU (20-8, 14-8 LSC) will open the tournament on Tuesday with a 6 p.m. game against 12th-seeded Oklahoma Christian. The final three rounds of the event will be played Thursday through Sunday in Frisco, Texas.
ENMU finished in a tie with Angelo State for fifth, but the teams split their regular-season meetings and the Greyhounds had the edge based on a split against Lubbock Christian.
Senior post Natalie DeLonge added 15 points, freshman guard Natalie Stice added 13 and sophomore post Kamirah Decker scored 10 for the Hounds, who led wire to wire. They pulled away in the fourth quarter after the Mustangs (11-15, 9-13) had cut a 13-point deficit to four.
Senior guard Mica Schneider had six 3-pointers and scored 25 points for MSU, while 6-foot-4 junior forward Hannah Reynolds added 11,
ENMU women 93, Cameron 74 (Thursday) — Even though the possibility of a first-round bye in the Lone Star Conference tournament was gone, ENMU’s women still had plenty to play for entering the final weekend of the regular season.
The Greyhounds got it off to a flying start on Thursday night, using three major runs to get and maintain control in a 93-74 rout of Cameron at Greyhound Arena.
DeLonge led the way with personal bests of 21 points and 13 rebounds, her third double-double of the season. Meantime, senior post Jasmine Williams added 17 points and nine rebounds, Stice had 11 points and Cox finished with 10 points and a season-best nine assists.
Eleven players scored for ENMU, which overwhelmed the Aggies (13-14, 12-9 LSC) with its size and depth. The Hounds, who entered the night tied with Cameron and Angelo State for the No. 5 seed in the LSC tourney, dominated the glass 54-34 and outscored the Aggies 46-26 in the paint in matching their high point total for the season.
“We had great contributions from everybody,” ENMU women’s coach Josh Prock said. “This time of the year is when you want to be playing your best basketball.”
With the game tied 9-9 four minutes in, Decker’s 3-pointer kicked off a 14-0 run, and the lead was never under double figures after that.
The Hounds used an 11-0 spurt to extend their lead to 38-17 midway through the second period. Cameron got going from 3-point range in the second half, but after the Aggies closed to 75-63 with 5 1/2 minutes to go the Hounds put together another 14-0 spurt to end any doubt.
Williams helped spark the late surge with a couple of baskets from the paint, several rebounds and a key steal.
“We were being aggressive on offense the whole time,” said DeLonge, who also recorded three of ENMU’s season-best eight blocked shots. “Overall, we did a good job of playing lockdown defense, and that’s what gets us going on offense.”
ENMU shot 50 percent for the game (32-of-64) while limiting Cameron to 33 percent (25-of-75). Australian-born senior guard Maighan Hedge, the LSC’s leading scorer, paced the Aggies with 23 points.
“It’s hard against one of the top teams in the conference to dig yourself out of a 20-point hole,” said Aggies coach Emma Andrews, who is also from Australia. “They played really well, and we didn’t keep up the first half.”
Cox had just one point at halftime, but before 3 1/2 minutes had elapsed in the third quarter she had already pushed into double figures.
“That kid is just phenomenal,” Prock said of the Portales High grad. “I’m probably harder on her than anybody else, but she’s set a really high standard for herself.”
A tough two-point loss at home to Tarleton State a couple of weeks ago ends up keeping the Hounds away from a top-four finish and a first-round bye in the LSC meet. Instead, they’ll host a first-round game at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
ENMU was ranked ninth this week in the South Central Region — only the top eight teams advance to the regional tournament.
“Every game is important when you’re trying to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament,” DeLonge said. “If it wasn’t for that Tarleton loss, we might be ranked third or fourth in the region.”
The Hounds, who have been an up-and-down team from the free throw line all season, converted 18-of-23 second-half chances to help keep the Aggies at bay. They also survived 22 turnovers, including 13 in the second half.
“I think we played pretty good team basketball,” DeLonge said. “(But) turnovers are what let them get back in the game.”
Senior guard Amaka Nwakamma added 16 points for Cameron, while senior guard Ava Battese hit five 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.
ENMU men 92, Cameron 71 — The Greyhounds shot 54 percent from the floor, matching a season best, and used a big second half to pull away and enhance their chances for a berth in the LSC tournament.
ENMU (8-18, 8-13) and Cameron (9-18, 8-13) entered Saturday’s final day of the regular season tied with Arkansas-Fort Smith, St. Mary’s and Oklahoma Christian for 10th place in the LSC.
Only three spots were available to fill out the 12-team field. The Hounds appeared in good shape with head-to-head wins over the other four teams, regardless of how they fared in Saturday’s home clash against Midwestern State (7-20, 7-14).
The Aggies jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, but by the 12-minute mark of the half the Hounds were in front 24-17. Junior guard Devin Pullum’s four-point play was enough to give ENMU a 46-45 lead at halftime.
Cameron then scored the first five points of the second half, but it was all ENMU after that. An 11-0 run gave the Hounds a 10-point lead with just over 14 minutes left, and they never looked back.
Junior guard-forward Jose Serrano led ENMU with 20 point off the bench, shooting 5-of-7 from the floor and 7-of-7 from the foul line. Junior guard Brandon Meadows added 12 points off the bench — ENMU’s subs outscored Cameron’s reserves 49-24 — while senior forward Deng Kuany had 10 points.
Cameron’s lone double-figure scorer was junior guard Jordan Lewis with 16 points.