PORTALES, N.M. — Ngozi Obineke, Madyson Johnson and Ma’K’La Woods all chipped in 11 points apiece, but the Texas Woman’s University basketball team (7-14, 5-12 Lone Star Conference) was unable to overcome the stingy defense of the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds (17-6, 11-6), falling 50-41 on Thursday night at the Greyhound Arena.
“I’m really proud of our effort on the boards and the defensive end tonight,” Pioneers coach Beth Jillson said. “To be able to hold them to just nine offensive rebounds when they average over 16 per game was key to helping us hold them to their second-lowest point total for the season.”
The game appeared to be on its way to being an offensive contest in the opening quarter, as both teams shot over 50% from the floor. The Pioneers matched ENMU shot-for-shot in the opening quarter and trailed by two going into the second.
The Pioneers controlled the pace in the second quarter, opening up a six-point (24-18) advantage with 3:19 to play in the half, but ENMU scored the final eight points of the half to go into the break with a two-point (26-24) lead.
The defenses locked down in the third quarter, as the Pioneers were held to 1-of-10 shooting from the floor and ENMU was held to 2-of-14 in an evenly played (8-8) third quarter.
TWU cut its deficit to one (34-33) in the opening minutes of the quarter, but the Greyhounds eased ahead, opening a six-point (39-33) advantage with 5:53 to play. Woods’ layup with 2:11 to play pulled the Pioneers back to within two (41-39), but a 9-0 run by the Greyhounds pushed the ENMU lead into double figures with under a minute to play.
The Pioneers struggled from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter, going 1-for-5 while both teams struggled from 3-point range, with TWU going 0-for-11 and ENMU going 1-for-10.
“Offensively, we were able to get good looks, but just couldn’t get shots to fall from the perimeter and when we got to the free-throw line, we weren’t able to convert down the stretch,” Jillson said.
TWU held a 17-9 advantage in bench points, led by Johnson’s 11.
“Mady came in and was a big spark for us off of the bench,” said Jillson. “She was an instant scoring threat inside against their zone, especially in the first half.”
The Pioneers also held a 26-20 advantage in points in the paint.
TWU returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 15, traveling to Canyon, Texas, for a 2 p.m. tip-off against No. 20 West Texas A&M.