Big 2nd half leads WT Lady Buffs to another win

In front of the largest home crowd of the season, the West Texas A&M Lady Buffs used a strong second half for a 70-43 win Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Lady Buffs improved to 11-9 on the year and 7-4 in the Lone Star Conference. It was the fifth-straight for WT as the Lady Buffs earned the season sweep of the Zias. ENMU fell to 3-16 and 2-9 in league play.

WT closed the game with a 32-13 run over the final 16 minutes after holding a 30-24 lead at intermission in front of 1,297 fans. The Lady Buffs were led by junior Devin Griffin who tallied a team-high 14 points on 6 of 11 from the field and 1 of 2 from beyond the arc and 1 of 2 from the line. Sophomore Chontiquah White had 10 points as did freshman Danielle Logan off the bench.

As a team, the Lady Buffs shot 51 percent for the game on 26 of 51 from the field. They were at a 60 percent clip in the second half on 15 of 25. WT was 7 of 13 from beyond the arc and 11 of 15 from the line. The Lady Buffs held a 31-29 lead in rebounds and forced ENMU into 18 turnovers, including 11 in the second half, outscoring the ZIas 22-6 in points off turnovers.

WT extended its streak of holding teams to under 40 percent shooting to 11 games as the Zias shot 37.8 percent for the game and 6 of 19 from the field in the second half for 17 for 45 for the contest. ENMU was 5 of 13 from beyond the arc and 4 of 10 from the line. Jordyn Cooper and Nelsha Peterson each had 11 points to lead the team.

It was the ninth win in the past 11 games for WT and 11th game of the Lady Buff defense holding teams under 70 points as WTâ??s points allowed per game improved to 58.8 for the season. The Lady Buffs entered the game second in the conference in fewest points allowed.

A triple from Griffin with 11:28 remaining in the first half gave the Lady Buffs a 16-10 lead for the largest of the game to that point. Later, a triple from freshman Danielle Logan swelled the lead to 21-12 with 9:05 left. WT opened making seven of its first 15 shots and was 3 of 5 from beyond the arc, while going 4 of 4 from the line.

Six quick points from ENMU cut the deficit to 21-18 with just over five minutes left in the half. Junior Raven Gerald ended the run with her second bucket from about 16 feet out for a 23-18 lead. A nice baseline move by senior Olivia Nino built the lead back to seven at 25-18 forcing ENMU into a timeout.

ENMU quickly came back in the final two minutes as it had buckets from Jaylyn Copper and Nelsha Peterson to pull within 25-22 with under a minute left. Griffin scored her ninth point putting the lead back to five with a half a minute left. Peterson scored under 10 seconds left, but the Lady Buffs had the last laugh in the half as Gerald nailed a long-range triple at the buzzer for a 30-24 advantage.

Both teams shot 11 of 26 from the field for 42.3 percent. The Lady Buffs were 4 of 6 from beyond the arc and 4 of 4 from the charity stripe. ENMU was 2 of 6 from range and 0 of 2 from the line. The Zias held an 18-13 lead in rebounds, but committed seven turnovers leading to a WT lead of 7-2 in points off turnovers.

Griffin led all scorers with nine points as she was 4 of 8 from the field and 1 of 1 from beyond the arc. Gerald was 3 of 6 from the field with a triple for seven points. Peterson had eight points off the bench for ENMU to lead the team.

A big offensive rebound and two free throws by sophomore Chontiquah White pushed the lead to 36-24 early in the second half. White then regained her own miss and was hacked inside as the ball went in for a 38-29 advantage with 15:48 left. After starting the half 0 for 4, the Zias came back with a triple and a bucket prior to the White â??and oneâ?? opportunity.

However, a steal and layup by junior Casey Land built the lead back to double-digits at 40-29 on the ensuing possession. Williams then nailed her first triple for a 43-29 advantage with 14 minutes left.

Sophomore Jordan Vessels took a nice pass from Williams at the top of the lane for a 45-32 advantage and the largest of the game with 12:45 left, followed by a Gerald jumper for a 47-32 lead. Logan earned the â??hoop-and-harmâ?? opportunity as she missed the free throw, but got her own miss and scored for a 51-35 lead with 10 minutes remaining.

The Lady Buffs used a 24-9 run since the 15:48 mark for a 62-38 advantage capped from two free throws from junior Sally Higgins with 5:05 remaining. A steal and layup by Nino swelled the lead to 66-38 as the run increased to 28-9 with 4:27 left. More impressively, since the 11:04 mark, the Lady Buffs outscored ENMU 17-4.

WT held the Zias without a field goal since the 9:50 mark. A steal and layup by Lakeeyscia Griffin ended the drought for the Zias with 2:05 left.

WT looks to even the season series at Abilene Christian on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., before returning home to host Angelo State on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. in the First United Bank Center