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Junior Ciara Fields continued her strong play as she not only led all-scorers with 16 points, but she also made it a double-double with a game-high 14 rebounds to lead the Western New Mexico University women’s basketball team against Midwestern State University. Despite the big game from Fields, Midwestern State used a big second half to pull away for the 64-47 Lone Star Conference victory Thursday night.

Fields went 5-14 from the field, including a three-pointer, along with a 5-6 effort at the foul line. Of her 14 rebounds, six came on the offensive end and she rounded out her game with three steals and three blocks. Five players had at least seven points for the Lady Mustangs with seniors Melody McLaughlin and Jade Botelho, along with junior Takiyah Lopez chipping in eight points apiece, while freshman Rachel Francisco added seven points.

It turned into a block party with the teams combining for 20 blocks with MSU leading the way with 11.

The first half was a real struggle for both teams as they combined for just 41 points. WNMU (0-15, 0-7 LSC) opened the scoring 39 seconds in when Fields hit two from the line. McLaughlin cashed in a turnover with a layup a minute later to move WNMU out to the 4-0 lead.

MSU (8-6, 5-2 LSC) answered with the next four points to even the score. With the game still tied at four nearing the end of the opening quarter, Lopez hit a foul shot to keep the Lady Mustangs with the lead at 5-4. After trading leads over the next several minutes, Lopez moved WNMU in front by three on a pair from the line before Hannah Reynolds hit a layup to close the quarter for MSU to leave WNMU with a 12-11 lead after the first 10 minutes.

Botelho jumped the lead to three as she connected on the first basket of the second quarter a minute in. The teams then traded one-point leads the rest of the half with a free throw by Kityana Diaz left MSU with a 21-20 lead at halftime.

The first six minutes of the second half continued with the one-point lead theme until a jumper by Fields knotted the game at 26 with 3:40 to go in the third and MSU closed the remainder of the frame on a 13-2 run to open up a 39-28 lead entering the fourth quarter.

A Lopez three and jumper by Fields over the first two minutes of the final quarter helped trim the deficit back to eight, but that ended up being as close as they could get the rest of the way. Following Fields’ jumper to make it a 41-33 game, MSU finished the game outscoring WNMU by nine to take the victory.

Micheline Mercelita paced MSU with her own double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Kizart added 11 points and Chelsea Adams with nine. Hannah Reynolds sent back four blocks in eight minutes.

WNMU made 16-60 (27) from the field, 3-16 (19) from three and 12-14 (86) at the foul line. MSU connected on 25-65 (39) from the field, 3-9 (33) from three and 11-25 (44) from the charity stripe.

MSU held the edge on points off turnovers (27-8), second-chance points (15-6), bench points (34-0), points in the paint (40-20) and fastbreak points (16-11).

WNMU will travel just up the road to Lawton, Okla., to face Cameron Saturday afternoon starting at 2 p.m. Central Time. The Aggies nearly rallied against Eastern New Mexico Thursday before falling 57-53.

Live from Silver City

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Editor's Note

The Grant County Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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