Zias fall in LSC South opener

Nikki Ingram, a freshman guard from la Cueva, scored eight points Wednesday in the Zias’ 71-55 loss to Abilene Christian.

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

PORTALES — There was little mystery the Zias would be outsized much of the season, and it was especially the case Wednesday with Abilene Christian’s Meyer sisters.

But it was in transition, just as much on the inside, where the senior posts combined for 40 points to help the visiting Wildcats cruise to a 71-55 victory over Eastern New Mexico University in the Lone Star Conference South opener for both teams.

Jamie Meyer had 25 points and Jody Meyer 15, and point guard Kat Kundmueller finished with nine assists to just one turnover.

Many of Kundmueller’s assists came to one Meyer or the other, who at 6 feet tall either outsized the Zia posts or outran Eastern’s guards in transition.

“Our players did a good job running the floor,” ACU coach Shawna Lavender said. “They kind of get behind you at times. When you’ve got someone like Kat running the break, you get a lot of easy baskets.

“She knew where the ball needed to be. Her court vision and basketball IQ are phenomenal. She gets the most out of her 5-4.”

While Jamie Mayer may have scored nine points during an 11-4 run to open the second half and put the game on ice, Lavender said the swarming defense on Cat Clay was the unsung key for the Wildcats (11-5, 1-0 LSC South).

“Jamie, “Lavender said, “more so defensively, was a difference maker.”

Clay led the Zias with 17, but was held to 5-of-13 shooting on the night.

The difference maker in the mind of Zias coach Linden Weese was shooting. Eastern shot 34 percent, and the Wildcats shot 47 percent despite a 2-of-8 start.

“We got the same shots, didn’t hit them,” Weese said. “They hit theirs.”

Behind a hot start from Clay and guard Nikki Ingram, who had four steals in the first 10 minutes, the Zias (5-11, 0-1) staked out a 12-4 lead. But Autumn Whitaker’s 3-pointer started an 11-2 run, and the teams traded leads five times before Jamie Meyer had six points during an 8-3 run to close out the first half for a 33-28 lead.

The Zias tried to go small-ball after the Wildcats built a 63-46 advanage on Jody Meyer’s putback, and guard Vanessa O’Neal of Clovis scored all four of her points during a 9-2 run. But Jody Meyer got one more putback and the Zias never scored again.

Abilene Christian (11-5, 1-0)
Jamie Meyer 10-18 4-4 25, Jody Meyer 6-11 3-4 15, Courtney Laing 7-13 0-1 14, Autumn Whitaker 2-7 0-0 5, Kat Kundmueller 2-8 0-0 4, Kelsey Darby-Holson 1- 0-0 2, Danielle Hartley 1-2 0-0 2, Cecilee Perez 1-1 0-0 2, Emily Miller 1-2 0-0 2, Sara Montgomery 0-1 0-0 0, Shelby Shipley 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 31-66 7-9 71.

Eastern New Mexico (5-11, 0-1)
Cat Clay 5-13 3-4 17, Til-Lois Fifer 4-5 0-0 8, Nikki Ingram 2-11 3-4 8, Celeste Belizario 4-8 0-0 8, Tori Northcutt 1-6 3-4 6, Vanessa O’Neal 1-1 2-2 4, Kara Bible 1-1 0-1 , Kassie Daugherty 1-1 0-2 2, Lace Clark 0-7 0-0 0, Hanna Altheide 0-2 0-0 0, Sorrel Huntington 0-1 0-1 0, Totals 19-56 11-18 55.

Halftime score — ACU 33, ENMU 26. 3-pointers — ACU 2-9 (Ja. Meyer 1-2, Whitaker 1-2, Darby-Holson 0-1, Kndmueller 0-1, Hartley 0-1, Shipley 0-1, Laing 0-1), ENMU 6-23 (Clay 4-10, Northcutt 1-3, Ingram 1-6, Clark 0-3, Altheide 0-1). Rebounds — ACU 37 (Whitaker 10), ENMU 34 (Northcutt 7). Assists — ACU 21 (Kundmueller 9), ENMU 15 (Northcutt 5). Total fouls — ACU 17, ENMU 13. Fouled out — None. A