Zias rout Highlands to snap losing skid

Freedom New Mexico

LAS VEGAS, N.M. — Eastern New Mexico University closed out the first half with a 27-6 surge and the Zias went on to end a five-game losing streak with an 81-58 victory over winless New Mexico Highlands Monday night in women’s college basketball.

Freshman guard Samantha Matta scored 14 points and freshman center Kara Bible came off the bench for 12 — both season highs — to lead the Zias (2-7). Both players shot 6-for-7 from the field and cleared six rebounds.

Highlands (0-8) stayed close for about 10 minutes, but saw its losing streak go to 28 games dating back to early December 2006.

ENMU shot 52 percent, including 57 percent (17-of-30) en route to a 42-23 halftime lead.

Trailing 17-15, Matta’s jumper tied it with 10:54 left in the half, and freshman Til-Lois Fifer’s 3-point play less than a minute later put the Zias in front for good.

The margin stayed between 15 and 20 points for most of the second half, although the Zias built their biggest lead (72-43) with under five minutes left after back-to-back baskets by Bible.

Junior guard Veronica Lerma was Highlands’ only double-figure scorer, finishing with 19 points. The Cowgirls struggled all night from the field, finishing at 28 percent after shooting just 24 percent (8-of-33) in the first half.

The game was the final one before the holidays for the Zias. They return to action with a 5:30 p.m. Lone Star Conference crossover game Jan. 3 against East Central at Greyhound Arena.