Stevens: Furious Durbin-Led Rally Falls Short For Lobos at Arizona
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/21/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 21, 2011

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New Mexico Lobos Women's Basketball - At Arizona

Wednesday: Arizona Wildcats 59, New Mexico Lobos 50

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

It was a game marked by Lobo guts, Lobo pride and a furious second-half rally led by Caroline Durbin's 19 points.

But in the end, the Lobos couldn't overcome the 27 points by Arizona's Davellyn Whyte -- and a 15-point halftime gap -- as New Mexico fell 59-50 in Tucson's McKale Center.

The Lobos came out of the halftime break down 34-19. A convincing 17-2 Arizona run to end that half seemed to have the Lobos on the ropes and reeling. But the Lobos that came out in the second half came out to make it a fight.

The Lobos battled out of their 34-19 deficit, closed to 51-48, and had possession of the basketball coming out of a media break with 3:48 to play. UNM's Deeva Vaughn missed inside and Arizona's Shanita Arnold hit a two-pointer to form a 53-48 gap.

The game then took a cruel turn for UNM as Arnold stepped in front of a Durbin pass and raced down the court for a layup that pushed the 'Cats into a 55-48 lead with 2:58 to go. UNM never recovered.

"It was there. It was right there and then they scored back-to-back," said UNM coach Yvonne Sanchez.

"This team is growing up before our eyes and now we have to get some wins. We are disappointed because we want to win and we're all competitors. But it will come."

Durbin, who did not score in the first half, was the only UNM player to reach double figures.

"We have to get some other people involved (in scoring)," said Sanchez. "We ran a lot of sets for (Durbin). And Deeva started going to work in the second half and they really had to key on her.

"That's the Deeva that I know. That's the Deeva that I know from junior college. I think people are going to have to watch out for Deeva Vaughn." Lauren Taylor had nine points and Vaughn had eight points. The Lobos had only ten turnovers to 19 for Arizona.

Arizona got 27 points from Davellyn Whyte and ten points from Arnold. The Wildcats won the board battle, 48-33, to help make up for their sloppy ball handling. UNM held Arizona to 27.6 percent shooting in the second half.

"They had 19 turnovers, but had we had more rebounds and more scoring opportunities, that would have helped," said Sanchez.

"We're going to get some of these wins. We had to play catchup against a very good team on the road and we did that and we did it well."

Second Half: New Mexico Lobos 31 Arizona 25

The discouraging end to the first half - a 17-2 Arizona run - didn't bother the Lobos coming out at the half. The Lobos came out to fight.

A huge key in this battle was Durbin decided to join the fight. UNM got five quick points from Durbin and Arizona called a timeout. The UNM offense was clicking, but Arizona was still scoring at its end. A Rohde layup had Arizona up 41-27.

The Lobos - and Durbin - continued to score, but also converted some of that energy to the defensive end. Durbin's 14th point cut Arizona's lead to 44-35. A Deeva Vaughn jumper hacked that `Cat gap down to 47-43. Arizona's 15-point halftime lead had been cut to four.

The `Cats had hit six 3-pointers in the first half, but had hit only one going into the final six minutes of the second half.

Arizona got two free throws from Whyte to go up 51-43. Vaughn scored for UNM: 51-45. The Lobos struck again with a Durbin trey - pushing her second-half total to 17 - and Arizona called a timeout with 4:29 to play and guarding a fragile 51-48 lead. The Wildcat probably were looking for someone who wanted to guard Durbin.

At the 3:49 media break, UNM was still down 51-48, but coming out of the break in possession of the basketball. Vaughn missed inside and Arnold hit a two-pointer to form a 53-48 gap. A huge turnover by Durbin/steal by Arnold led to an Arnold layup and the `Cats were up seven: 55-48. UNM called time.

The Lobos needed to score quickly and get the ball back quickly. Durbin scored off the baseline and UNM was down 55-50. Arizona's Whyte got fouled by Vaughn on a drive. Whyte, an 80 percent free-throw shooter, made both freebies: 57-50.

Arizona got a big stop at the other end while working some time off the clock. A UNM turnover at 1:34 handed the ball to the `Cats. The defensive stopper was even bigger as Whyte had gone to the bench limping.

UNM was forced to foul Reiko Thomas with 1:01 to play. The `Cat made both and Arizona was up 59-50. That pretty much sealed it for Arizona, which pushed their season mark to 10-1.

First Half: Arizona 34, New Mexico Lobos 19

There was really no mystery for the New Mexico Lobos in who and what they had to stop in order to escape Arizona's McKale Center with a major upset. The Lobos needed to stop Davellyn Whyte and Arizona 3-pointers.

Oh, yeah - and the `Cats powerful drives to the basket.

The Lobos couldn't do it down the final seven minutes of the first half. Whyte paced Arizona to a 15-point lead by scoring 16 points and going 3-of-4 from long range. Arizona went 6-of-10 from behind the line to take the 34-19 lead.

It was a discouraging final seven minutes for the Lobos, who actually raced to a lead of 7-1 and also formed a 17-all tie on a 3-pointer by Lauren Taylor with 7:14 to play.

The `Cats then closed the half with a 17-2 run, hitting three treys (two by Whyte), a Whyte jumper and three power layups. UNM, which made three of its final 20 shots in the half, got an inside bucket from Deeva Vaughn during that crushing Arizona run. Arizona shot 50 percent in the first half (13-of-26) while UNM shot 24 percent (7-of-29). UNM had five points from Taylor and Torrance. The Wildcats won the board battle, 22-15.

A good start is important on the road and the Lobos got the quick start and some early confidence in Tucson running to a 7-1 lead. Arizona then closed the gap to 7-6 and 9-8. Torrance had five points at that point and Jayme Jackson had four points. UNM then went up 11-8 and Arizona closed to 11-10 at the 11:17 break.

The Wildcats took their first lead of the game at 13-11 on a trey by Shanita Arnold. Arnold knocked down another one to push the home team up 16-11. Arizona was on an 8-0 run. UNM called time at the 8:49 mark.

The Lobos came out of their huddle and Nelson banged in a trey to cut Arizona's lead to 16-14. The `Cats got a single free throw from Whyte to go up 17-14, but UNM's Taylor hit a trey to produce a 17-all tie. Arizona hit another 3-pointer, this one by Lindsey Fearing, and the Wildcats were up 20-17. Barnes scored inside for Arizona twice: 22-17 and 24-17.

Arizona's run went from 7-0 to 10-0 to 17-2 to form the 34-19 halftime count.