New Mexico Lobo Women’s Basketball – In The Pit
Tuesday: Texas Longhorns 67, New Mexico Lobos 52
Up Next: 1 p.m., Saturday, No. 16 Colorado at New Mexico, The Pit
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
“The things that are plaguing us are fixable,” said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez. “We’re hoping it will happen soon.”
On Tuesday night in The Pit, one of things UNM needed to fix was the 17.9 first-half shooting percentage that tossed the Lobos into a 30-18 halftime hole. It was a hole they were unable to climb out of in a 67-52 non-conference loss to the Texas Longhorns.
The Lobos did some fixing at halftime and shot 43.8 percent in the second half, but the Longhorns also warmed up from 36.7 percent to 50 percent. There were at least two reasons the Longhorns shot better than the Lobos. Texas shot and made shorter shots, outscoring UNM 42-14 in the paint.
“I knew they would get points in the paint,” said Sanchez. The Longhorns also muscled Nneka Enemkpali inside for 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
“I really can’t tell you what’s going on with our slow starts,” said Lobo Antiesha Brown, who led UNM with 14 points but played only 24 minutes due to foul trouble. “We’re looking to catch the feel of the game instead of taking over the game.”
The game against Texas was not an easy game to take over. The Longhorns were bigger than the Lobos inside and probably quicker on the edge. Still, the Lobos had some good looks at the basket – good looks that didn’t fall. In the first half, the trio of Brown (0-4), Sara Halasz (1-9) and Bryce Owens (0-5) combined to go 1-of-18 from the field.
Against Texas, that 12-point halftime hole was a deep one.
“I have no idea,” said Sanchez when asked about her team’s shooting woes. “I don’t know if it’s nerves. I don’t know if they are rushing them. They’re open shots. There are some that are contested. But for the most part they’re open.
“That’s the ball game (shooting). It’s hard to watch.”
It also was hard to watch 6-foot-2 center Ebony Walker crash to the floor in the second half. She was helped to the bench and later helped up the ramp. Sanchez said an Achilles injury will keep Walker out of Saturday’s Pit game with No. 16 ranked Colorado – and maybe sideline her for the season. UNM also will play the Buffaloes without 6-foot center Khadijah Shumpert, who will be out of town attending a family funeral.
These two holes will not be fixable at least for the Buffs’ visit. “That’s a big loss,” said Lobo Bryce Owens.
Shumpert got into foul trouble against Texas and played only 11 minutes scoring no points and pulling down no boards. Bryce Owens got hot late to end up with 13 points. Brown and Shumpert ended up fouling out.
“That was one of her best games,” said Sanchez of Owens, who also had three assists and a steal.
Texas’ Empress Davenport had 12 points and eight boards. Texas won the board battle 44-35 and went 15-of-21 from the line to 6-of-8 for New Mexico.
“We have to take learning points from this game and keep moving,” said Brown. “We’re definitely going to work on hitting shots and finding each other on the court.”
Said Sanchez: “We didn’t have our best. If you don’t have your best and you play Texas, you are in trouble.”
UNM shot 43.8 percent in the second half which is decent shooting against a team as good as Texas. But the Lobos’ 17.9 percent shooting in the first half helped knock them into a 30-18 hole at the half. The Longhorns rode that lead to the win. UNM’s Brown scored twice to cut Texas’ 30-18 halftime lead to 30-22. However, Brown went to the bench after that with four fouls which helped Texas run back up 38-25. Brown came back at the 15:12 media stop with Texas still up 38-25.
UNM’s Walker went down in the lane with Texas up 40-25. Walker stayed down and was helped off the court and later up the ramp favoring her left leg. Texas rolled out a 46-27 lead before Vaughn and Brown scored to cut that gap to 46-31 going into the 10:59 break. Enemkpali had 15 points at that mark.
UNM hit a couple of treys to help them scratch to 52-39. At the 7:33 stop, the Lobos were down 54-39 – 15 points. UNM was shooting 50 percent at that mark of the second half. The Longhorns were shooting 52.4 percent with Enemkpali at 8-of-11 from the field.
Texas was up 56-42 when Brown went to the bench with her fifth and final foul coming on the offensive end. She left the floor with 11 points. The Lobos were now without Brown and Walker. At the 3:48 break, UNM was down 58-44. Texas went on to win 67-52.
First Half: Texas Longhorns 30, New Mexico Lobos 18
The Lobos got two field goals from their starters and shot 17.9 percent in the first half to fall into the 12-point halftime hole. The trio of Brown (0-4), Halasz (1-9) and Owens (0-5) combined to go 1-of-18 from the field. Texas was better at 36.7 percent shooting 11-of-30. UNM was 5-of-28 from the field.
Texas’ edge came inside where the Longhorns outscored UNM 18-to-4 in the paint. Texas also had a 9-to-2 edge in points off turnovers.
The board work was close with Texas holding a slim 23-21 lead. UNM had nine turnovers and Texas had six. The Longhorns had nine assists to four for UNM. Walker came off the bench to got 2-of-2 from behind the 3-point line and led UNM with six points. Enemkpali had 11 points for Texas.
At one point the Lobos were down only five points – 16-11 – while shooting only 19 percent from the floor. The Lobos closed to 19-16 before Texas closed out the half with an 11-to-2 run to grab the 30-18 halftime lead.
Both teams had trouble scoring early and Texas led 6-3 at the 13:12 mark. The Longhorns went up 9-3 on a trey by Henderson at 12:43. The Longhorns were up 11-3 before Walker hit UNM’s second field goal of the half, a trey, to make it 11-6. At the 7:51 media stop, Texas was up 16-11 with UNM reaching 11 on another trey by Walker. UNM was shooting 19 percent at that mark and Texas was at 33.3 percent.
The Lobos cut the gap to 19-16 on a nice backdoor pass from Vaughn to Halasz. Texas used a turnover to go up 23-16 and a bucket by 6-5 Kelsey Lang allowed the Longhorns to carry a 25-16 lead into the 3:22 media break. Texas ran and powered its way to a 30-18 bulge at intermission.