Freedom New Mexico
PORTALES — West Texas A&M erased a six-point deficit in the final minute to avoid an upset as the Lady Buffs downed the Eastern New Mexico Zias 69-68 Saturday at Greyhound Arena.
Freshman Casey Land’s two free throws with five seconds left proved to be the difference in the final Lone Star Conference South regular-season game for both teams.
Junior Jamie Simmons had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Land finished with 15 points for the Lady Buffs (17-10, 10-4 LSC South). WT will be the No. 2 seed next week at the LSC championship in Bartlesville, Okla., which draws the top four teams from the North and South divisions.
Kiara Tate scored 20 points off the bench for the Zias (5-21, 3-11), who finished seventh in the eight-team LSC South.
Tate scored 11 points in the first half, which the Zias closed out with a 9-1 run to take 34-26 lead. The shot nearly 56 percent (15-of-27) from the field in the first half, but cooled off in the final 20 minutes, finishing the game at 44 percent (24-of-55).
The Lady Buffs opened the second half with a 7-0 run, which began with a 3-pointer from Land, but Cat Clay (12 points) hit a pair of 3-pointers to put ENMU up 47-41.
WT managed to remain in the game as the Zias went nearly six minutes without a field goal, but ENMU did manage to go 8-for-8 from the charity stripe during the drought.
Kara Bible put the Zias on top 67-61 with 1:07 left, but back-to-back buckets from the Lady Buffs, which included a 3-pointer from Lacee Logan with 29 seconds left pulled WT back to within 67-65.
The Zias would go just 1-for-4 from the charity stripe over the last minute during the Lady Buff comeback.