STEVENS: Lobos Clip Eagles 80-64 to Advance to WNIT Semis
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/15/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 15, 2009

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Sunday: Lobos 80, Florida Gulf Coast 64
Wedneday: Lobos vs. Oklahoma State, 7 p.m. The Pit
Online: GameTracker, stats, game story on GoLobos.com

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

The New Mexico Lobos outgunned the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles 80-64 Sunday afternoon in The Pit and advance to play Oklahoma State in the Women's National Invitation Tournament's semifinals. That game will be played 7 p.m. Wednesday in The Pit.

The Lobos ran to a 32-24 halftime lead after surviving a 16-0 Gulf Coast run that put the Eagles up 21-16. Actually, it was a game that featured a number of runs by both teams.

The Lobos opened with a 10-0 run and controlled the first half by ending with a 13-0 run. A 19-4 run by the Lobos in the second half pushed UNM into a 51-33 lead that created a hole too big for the Eagles to fly out of.

"I was worried about this team," said Lobo coach Don Flanagan. "They are a very difficult team to defend. We held them to 64 and we played excellent defense. The are a very fine team with good personel and good shooters. They are going to beat a lot of teams this year.

"They are not out of a game unless they run out of time. They have a lot of shooters." Adrianne McNally was the Eagles' top shooter with 25 points. Teammate Britany Brown added 14 points. The Lobos and the Eagles both hit nine 3-pointers.

Sara Halasz led UNM with a career-high 24 points followed by Amy Beggin with 20 and Porche Torrance with a career-high 12 points. Amanda Best had 10 rebounds and eight points. Lauren Taylor had seven points, seven rebounds and five assists. Georonika Jackson had eight points, two blocked shots and a steal.

UNM outrebounded the shorter Eagles 42-to-27 and the action in The Pit usually featured 10 perimeter players going at it.

"Porche Torrance did a great job," said Flanagan. "She was a key stepping up and Sara had a good game."

Said the 6-foot-1 Torrance: "I knew I had height on them, so I tried to post up down below and finish."

The win raises UNM to 2-0 on the season and puts them one win away from a spot in the WNIT preseason title game.

The Eagles came out of the halftime break suffering through that 13-0 UNM run and needing to chip the ice off their basket. The Eagles scored first to cut UNM's lead to 32-26. Gulf Coast then got an uncontested trey to make it 32-29.

The Eagles probably were happy with that quick offense, but soon forgot to play defense. UNM exploited that fault with two Beggin treys, a Best layup and a short Halasz jumper. UNM was up 42-31 and Gulf Coast asked for a timeout.

Halasz then slipped open on the left baseline for a trey that produced a 45-31 Lobo lead. Halasz now had 17 points. She came out of the media timeout and quickly made it 19 points with a short jumper that put UNM up 47-33. Halasz on a drive made it 51-33. The scoreboard, and Halasz, was making this win look easier than it really was. UNM was on a 19-to-4 run.

Porche Torrance scores 12 pts

The Eagles then made a little run. A trey by Murphy cut UNM's lead to 53-41. A UNM turnover led to a Chelsea Lyles trey and it was 53-44. A UNM miss and another Gulf coast trey had Flanagan up and calling for a timeout looking at a 53-47 scoreboard. The Eagles were back in it, down six with 11:15 to play.

Beggin made it an 8-point lead with a drive down the lane and a 10-foot jumper, 55-47. Torrance slipped loose underneath for a layup and a 57-47 lead. UNM took that 10-point lead into the 10:19 media break. Beggin came out of the break with a layup to give UNM a 12-point cushion at 59-47. Torrance slipped loose underneath and sweetly touched the glass to make it 61-47. The Lobos were again drifting away.

UNM grabbed a 65-53 lead on a Best baseline drive. The scoreboard stayed with that count at the 6:53 break. The Eagles banged in a trey to make it 65-56. Torrance scored underneath to push UNM up 67-56. Best flipped in two free throws to give UNM a 69-58 lead with five minutes to play. Torrance inside again: 71-58 at the 3:46 media break.

Halasz probably put the hammer down with a baseline trey to roll UNM into a 74-62 lead. An easy backdoor hoop by the Eagles had Flanagan up and asking for time at 3:10, but the Eagles were running out of time. Torrance hit two at the line to bump UNM to 78-62. Torrance hit two more at the 1:06 mark: 80-64.

First Half

The Lobos jumped out early on Gulf Coast. A trey by Beggin in the corner followed by a trey by Taylor near the top of the key handed UNM a 7-0 lead. When Jackson banged in another trey off a Gulf Coast turnover, it was a 10-0 UNM run. The Eagles called a timeout.




Gulf Coast finally scored at 15:26 when Adrianne McNally drove on Jessica Kielpinski. An Eagle 3-pointer made it 10-5. Jackson pushed UNM up 15-5 on a drive and a bank of the glass. She added a point at the line.

Then the Eagles got hot, with some Lobo help. The Lobos had ten first-half turnovers. A UNM turnover led to a trey by Shannon Murphy and it was 16-13. Courtney Chihil got open on the baseline and knocked down a 3-pointer to put Gulf Coast up 18-16. Another Eagle trey by McNally and it was 21-16. UNM had been outscored 16-to-0. It was now the Lobos' turn to go on a scoring run.

Halasz broke UNM's drought with a trey near the top of the key to pull UNM to 21-19. Halasz put UNM back up 25-24 on a drive and jumper down the lane. The Pit got into it at that point, for the first time.

Both teams went at it hard and at the 3:39 media break, UNM still held that narrow 25-24 lead. McNally had 13 points for the Eagles, 4-of-7 from the field. Halasz had seven for UNM.

The Lobos went up by three, 27-24, when Halasz scored two from the free throw line. Halasz did it again for UNM with a trey for a 30-24 lead. The Eagles had hit a cold spell. The Lobos had Halasz hitting. Beggin padded UNM's halftime lead to 32-24 on a drive and a bank shot with four seconds to play.

UNM ended the half on a 16- to-3 run. Halasz paced the Lobo scoring in the half with 12 points followed by Beggin and Jackson with six each. UNM outrebounded Gulf Coast 24-to-18. The Lobos shot 36 percent from the field to 36.7 percent for the Eagles. The Lobos went 9-of-12 from the line to 4-of-6 for the visitors from Florida. The Eagles were led by McNally's 13 points.