By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (February 4, 2017) — Tarleton State (10-10, 9-5) built a big lead behind Mackenzie Hailey’s 16 points and 16 assists and sailed to a 78-66 win over Western New Mexico (4-17, 0-14) in a game not nearly as close as the final score indicates Saturday.
Hailey also had five assists and a steal to round out her big performance, that came in just 20 minutes of action. She checked out late in the third and did not return.
Tarleton led by as much as 63-40 late in the third quarter. With backups all over the court for the TexAnns and Jordan Gutierrez on fire for WNMU, the Lady Mustangs pulled within nine briefly late in the fourth, but Bailey Wipff came back off the bench to steady things for the TexAnns, who were never in danger.
Tarleton led from the start thanks to 3 by Wipff just 20 seconds into the game. Tarleton scored the first nine points, and was ahead 21-8 before 11 straight WNMU points.
Gutierrez, the only Mustang player that is much of a threat in the Lone Star conference, was the highest scoring individual in Wisdom Gym with 30 points. She was 12-12 from the foul stripe.
But outside Gutierrez, the TexAnns had the Lady Mustangs outmanned from the start in handing them their 15th consecutive loss.
Hailey missed a double-double by halftime by just one rebound, and Tarleton used a 14-0 second quarter run to seize complete contra before leading 43-25 at half. It was 56-34 after the third.
Ikpeaku Iwobi also scored 16 points for the TexAnns and Wipff finished with 15. She had eight and Hailey seven in the first quarter alone.
Tiara Tatum scored nine for Tarleton while Travanti Downes and Reann Hall each came off the bench to score seven. Starting point guard Kylie Collins, a true freshman, had five assists, matching Hailey for the team lead.
Joining Gutierrez in double figures for the Lady Mustangs was Jade Botelho with 14. Keshaun Clark had eight points, six boards and six assists, while Jayla Brown scored nine.
Tarleton shot an even 50 percent and out-boarded WNMU 41-22. The Lady Mustangs managed to shoot 49.1 percent.
Tarleton hosts Texas A&M-Kingsville at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.