Fast start carries Mustangs to 61-55 win over Greyhounds

Junior post Jennifer Sissel posted her first career double-double with a career-best 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Midwestern State to a 61-55 victory over Eastern New Mexico in the Mustangs' Lone Star Conference home opener Saturday evening.

With the win, Midwestern State (2-11, 1-2 LSC) snapped a nine-game losing skid with its eighth-straight win over Eastern New Mexico (5-8, 0-3 LSC) dating back to the 2012-13 season.

Sissel sparked an impressive start for the Mustangs in the opening period, knocking down the first two baskets of the game to help MSU jump out to an early 9-0 advantage and force an ENMU timeout.

The Mustangs built their largest lead of the game at 12 with 4:52 remaining in the first quarter following a layup by freshman forward Kendriana Washington for a 15-3 score. However, the Greyhounds offense finally came alive, closing the period on an 8-0 run to cut their deficit to four after one.

A layup by Sissel stretched the MSU lead back to double figures at 10 early in the second quarter before teams would trade baskets for a majority of the period. Washington extended the Mustangs advantage to 11 with one minute to play in the half before taking a 29-20 lead into the break.

The Greyhounds trimmed into the MSU lead throughout the third period, coming within four following a three-pointer from senior guard Jordyn Cooper for a 41-37 Mustangs lead with 53 seconds remaining.

Junior post Kassandra Harris knocked down back-to-back baskets late in the fourth to give the Greyhounds their first lead of the game with 3:19 to play at 54-52. The lead wouldn't last long as junior guard Jacquar Westbrooks added a layup and Sissel drained a pair of free throws to give the Mustangs a lead it would not relinquish at 56-55 with 2:34 to play.

The Mustangs would force three turnovers while hitting 5-of-6 from the charity stripe in the final 2:22 to seal the 61-55 win over the Greyhounds.

Sophomore guard Whitney Taylor joined Sissel in double figures with 11 points while adding three assists and three steals.

MSU finished with its second-best shooting performance of the season, connecting on 40.7 percent (24-of-59) from the floor while shooting a 78.6 percentage (11-of-14) from the free-throw line.

The Mustangs forced 24 ENMU turnovers, recording at least 10 steals for the third-straight game in the process.

The Greyhounds shot 45.3 percent (24-of-53) from the field, led by Harris and sophomore wing Mikaehla Connor with 12 points apiece.

Midwestern State continues its homestand Wednesday when the Mustangs host rival Tarleton State in a 5:30 p.m. tip at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.