Zias lose heartbreaker to Seawolves

CNJ staff

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Freshman guard Tristan Burnett converted two free throws with eight seconds left Tuesday night, giving Alaska-Anchorage a 62-61 victory over Eastern New Mexico University and a sweep of their two-game women’s basketball series.

Burnett, averaging less than eight points and two assists coming into the game, compiled a double-double with team-highs of 18 points and 10 assists.

That gave the Seawolves their third double-double in two nights. Freshman center Rebecca Kielpinski had 26 points and 10 rebounds and senior forward Kelsey Larsen added 13 and 10 in Anchorage’s 64-59 win on Monday night.

In Tuesday’s game, Kielpinski added 16 points for Anchorage before fouling out with 2:41 left.

ENMU (6-4) placed four players in double figures, led by junior guard Megan Ratliff with a season-best 14 points.

“I couldn’t ask much more from her; she can do that every night,” Zias coach Dan Buzard said. “We let her start, and she proved us right.”

Sophomore guard Erika Cook added 13 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, while senior post Tiana Bryant and junior guard Ashley Sutton both scored 10. Bryant injured her back in Monday’s game and was limited to 23 minutes on Tuesday.

ENMU led 34-26 at halftime, and extended the margin to 13 points on a 3-pointer by Bryant and a basket by Ratliff less than two minutes into the second half.

The Zias still led 49-37 after a Cook 3-pointer at the 15:45 mark before the Seawolves (7-2) went on a 17-4 run, going in front 54-53 on Kelsey Larsen’s basket with 7:15 to go.

That ended a scoring drought of four minutes for both teams, and was Anchorage’s first lead since the latter part of the first half. From that point on, neither team led by more than a point.

Cook knocked down two free throws with 1:03 to go, putting the Zias in front 61-60. Burnett missed a layup that Ratliff rebounded with 49 seconds left, and the Zias ran the clock down to 18 before turning the ball over on a shot clock violation.

After Burnett’s free throw, Ratliff’s last-second shot was off the mark.

“We had a great shot to win it,” Buzard said. “The ball rolled around the rim, and we thought it was going to go in.”

For the second night in a row, ENMU had shooting problems in the second half. After hitting 8-of-26 from the floor in the final 20 minutes on Monday, the Zias were 8-of-29 this time.

Anchorage went 12-for-25 from the field in the second half, knocking down 5-of-8 from the 3-point line after going only 1-of-8 from beyond the ark in the opening half.

The Zias were outrebounded 39-26, but stayed in the game by hitting 8-of-18 from 3-point range and 13-of-18 from the free throw line.