Zia sophomore Britni Gillespie shoots a layup as Midwestern State forward Angie Faurot goes for the block in the first half of Saturday’s Lone Star Conference South Division game. (Freedom Newspapers: Kevin Wilson)
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
PORTALES — Senior post Katherine Maples scored 27 points and pulled down 19 rebounds and senior forward Angie Faurot hit a tie-breaking 3-point shot with a half-minute left Saturday night as Midwestern State edged Eastern New Mexico University 81-78 in Lone Star Conference South Division women’s basketball at Greyhound Arena.
Katie Robertson added 15 points and Tia Banks 12 for the Mustangs (8-11, 2-4 South), who won for the first time in eight road outings this season.
ENMU (8-11, 0-5), which trailed by 10 points late in the half and was behind for much of the second half, rallied to take a pair of one-point leads after a 10-0 run midway through the second half. Junior guard Heather Brown missed on a 3-pointer for the lead with about 10 seconds left, and the Zias couldn’t get a final shot after Banks made 1-of-2 free throws with three seconds left.
“It was a game of runs,” Midwestern coach Shannon Burks said. “They (Zias) did a nice job of coming back.
“It was like a lot of games both of us have played this year, coming down to the end like that. I think we were just fortunate that our shot (Faurot’s 3-pointer) went in at the end and theirs didn’t.”
Senior post Tiana Bryant led four Zias in double figures with 20 points, while junior guard Missy Kirkland scored a season-best 19 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Brown finished with 12 points, while reserve guard Rosalyn Elliott added 11 points in 20 minutes.
“Missy was a huge factor tonight,” Zias coach Dan Buzard said. “I also thought Rosalyn Elliott came in and did well.”
Kirkland also had six rebounds, four assists and four steals in 33 minutes.
“It was just one of those games where I felt it,” said Kirkland, a junior college transfer from Arlington, Texas. “I do those things in practice all the time, and it just came out in a game tonight.”
“We just didn’t get the big girl stopped,” Buzard said of the 6-foot-3 Maples, who went 9-of-17 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the line. “She killed us all night.
“I was disappointed with the outcome, but I wasn’t disappointed with some of the things we did tonight.”
The Zias fell behind 7-0 in the first minute, then rallied to tie the score 11-11 on Bryant’s 3-pointer at the 15:32 mark.
Baskets by Bryant and Elliott gave ENMU what turned out to be its biggest lead of the night at 26-23 with seven minutes to go. Midwestern then went on a 16-3 run, interrupted only by Brown’s 3-pointer, but Kirkland scored five consecutive points and Brown hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to pull the Zias within 43-42 at halftime.
“We played a lot better than we played Wednesday,” Kirkland said. “We’ve just got to find that extra thing to get us over the hump.”