Jan. 23, 2013
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The University of New Mexico Lobos came into Wednesday's night's game at Colorado State looking to cure what had ailed them and snap their four-game road losing streak. Behind a strong second half, New Mexico (10-7, 2-2 MW) defeated the Rams 68-54. Freshman point guard Bryce Owens flirted with a triple double in the win as she finished with twelve points, a career-high ten rebounds and seven assists.
The victory was the program's first win in Fort Collins in four trips. New Mexico's last win in Moby Arena was January 29, 2009.
The Lobos came out of the halftime break with a five-point lead and quickly pushed it to their first double-digit lead courtesy of a Caroline Durbin four-point play. Durbin's big play was a sign of the team's signature second half. Coach Sanchez and company shot a blistering 8-17 (47.1%) from beyond the arc in the second half while maintaining a massive rebounding advantage.
"We were one of ten in the first half on threes. I told them that they were getting open looks, and I'm not going to tell you not to shoot. If you're in balance and in range, let it fly," commented Head Coach Yvonne Sanchez.
Owens was one of three Lobos to score in double figures. She was joined by Deeva Vaughn with 15 points and Sara Halasz with 14 points. Halasz matched her season high in scoring, and her 14 points was more than her previous five games combined.
"It's interesting because Caroline (Durbin) only gets nine points, but she's still one of our best players. While teams are keying in on her, you've got Deeva with 15 (points), Sara with 14 (points) and Bryce with 12 (points) and nearly a triple-double. That's what Caroline brings to the table. If she's not hitting, she doesn't force things and gets others involved," Sanchez noted.
For Colorado State, Sam Martin was the only Ram to score ten or more points. The junior forward finished with 16 points and four rebounds. She shot an efficient 7-12 (58.4%) from the field while the rest of the Rams shot a combined 11-35 (31.4%).
UNM finished the evening with a +22 advantage on the glass thanks to 19 offensive rebounds, which brought a heaping of praise from the Lobo Head Coach.
"It (the rebounding advantage) was unbelievable. Everybody did their job, and everybody did it well," said the head Lobo on her team's work on the glass.
The five-point halftime lead for New Mexico was immediately cut to three points when Sam Martin scored on Colorado State's first possession. The UNM response on defense was immediate as the Rams would not score another field goal for over six minutes. During that six-minute span, Colorado State's only points came on a pair of free throws from Caitlin Duffy.
While UNM's defense kept Colorado State at bay, it was Durbin's four-point play that triggered an outpour of scoring. That outpour came in the form of a 14-5 run by New Mexico in the first 6:32 of the second half to push the Lobo lead to fifteen points.
New Mexico led by as many as 18 points en route to the final 14-point margin of victory. The hot three-point shooting was part of a larger second-half turnaround from the field for the visitors. UNM shot 51.6% on 16-31 shooting in the second half after shooting 10-33 (30.3%) in the second half. The Cherry & Silver also lessened their turnover burden in the second half. They finished with a season-low twelve turnovers thanks to only five in the last twenty minutes of action.
It was a slow start for both teams to open the game. The Rams and the Lobos combined to make only two of their first ten shots from the field. The game was tied at two points at the game's first media timeout.
The low-scoring pace continued through the first ten minutes of action and the game tilted in New Mexico's favor. The tilt began with a CSU scoreless draught of 4:39 beginning with the under twelve minute media timeout. That led UNM to take its first lead of the game on a Sara Halasz floater in the lane with 9:06 remaining in the first half.
Sam Martin carried the scoring load in the first half for Colorado State with twelve of the team's 21 points. She accounted for 57.1% of the home team's scoring in the first half.
While Martin was carrying the load for the Rams, it was a group effort in scoring for New Mexico in the first half. The Lobo bench propelled UNM as they outscored their CSU counterparts 16-2 through the first 20 minutes of action.