Stevens: Kielpinski Goes 'Career' in Lobos' 65-60 Win Over Aggies
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/30/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 30, 2010

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Lobo Women's Basketball -- In The Pit
Lobos 65, New Mexico State 60
Up Next: Wyoming at Lobos, Jan. 8, The Pit

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

It's probably safe to say if Lobo Jessica Kielpinski didn't have a "career" game Thursday night in The Pit, the New Mexico Lobos wouldn't be looking at a 2010 sweep of the New Mexico State Aggies.

But the 6-foot-1 post from Mandan, N.D., went "career" in points (21) and had a season-high in steals (5) to pace the Lobos to a dramatic and come-from-behind 65-60 non-conference win. The Lobos led most of the game until an Aggie trey pushed NMSU up 56-54 with 2:24 to play. To say that was a critical point in the game is a huge understatement. The Aggies had the momentum. The Lobos needed a hero.

Up stepped Kielpinski, who stepped out of paint to bang down a trey that pushed the Lobos back into the lead at 57-56. The Lobos never trailed again, but the Lobos needed heroics by a few more Lobos.

"That's her best game," Lobo coach Don Flanagan said of his senior post. "Her mom came to this game and her mother probably brought this weather with her from North Dakota." Flanagan also said if Kielpinski's production was a product of mom sitting in the stands then he's not letting mom go back North.

The Aggies used the 3-point line to get back into the contest, but UNM used the free-throw line to seal the win. UNM went 19-of-21 from the line (90.5 percent) while the Aggies struggled, going 8-of-15 (53.3 percent). The Lobos got huge free throws (six) from Amanda Best, Jasmine Patterson and Porche Torrance to hold off the Aggies.

"All of those (free throws) were in pressure situations and that's important to us because were going to have some close games this year," said Flanagan, whose Lobos raised their season mark to 6-6. NMSU fell to 6-7.

"We knew they could shoot," Flanagan continued. "But we really didn't expect them not to miss a 3-pointer in the second half. They have a veteran perimeter team. They are hard to defend. They did a nice job in the second half to come back."

Kielpinski was joined in double figures by Lauren Taylor with 14 points and Patterson with 10. UNM won the board battle 38 to 31. NMSU outscored UNM from the floor, but the Lobos had 11 more points at the line. NMSU shot 42.3 percent to 37 percent for the Lobos.

"I want to thank the fans," said Flanagan. "We had winter weather and we had 8,000 (8,044) fans here. I don't like these close games. It's not good on your heart."

The pressure on all hearts watching this nail biter clicked in at the 6:24 mark when a Madison Spence trey cut UNM's lead down to 48-46. The Aggies tied the game at 52-all at the 3:42 mark and NMSU wiggled into a 56-54 lead off a 3-pointer by Jasmine Lowe. Kielpinski then hit that huge trey to push UNM back up 57-56. The Lobos never trailed again and got two huge free throws with 1:07 to play from freshman Jasmine Patterson that put UNM up 61-57.

UNM iced the win with 16 seconds to play off two free throws by Porche Torrance that handed UNM a 63-58 lead. Lowe scored 17 for NMSU and Spence added 14 points. Kielpinski led UNM in rebounding with seven while Best and Taylor each pulled down six boards.

Second Half: New Mexico State 38, Lobos 32

The Lobos came out of the locker room up by 11 points, drifted up by 12, 35-23, on a layup by Porche Torrance. The Aggies got back-to-back treys to make the count 37-31. Kielpinski then scored on a jumper followed by a trey to push UNM back up by 11, 42-31. At the 13:26 break, UNM guarded a 42-33 lead.

The Aggies pulled to 46-39 off two treys sandwiched around a Patterson steal and layup. That score held up going into the 11:59 break. A Tabytha Wampler layup cut UNM's lead to 46-41 before Kielpinski hit a 15-footer to up the Lobos to 48-41. The Lobos' center went to the bench with four fouls with 8:45 to play. At the 7:10 break, UNM was still up 48-41.

At the 6:24 mark, Spence made it interesting by banging in a trey to cut UNM's lead to 48-46. Taylor hit a big bucket for UNM and turned it into a 3-point play at the line: 51-46 in UNM's favor. Soto a single free throw to make it 51-47, but NMSU got the long rebound on her miss. Spence rolled in a short jumper to make it 51-49. Kielpinski came back into the game at the 5:07 mark when Soto was at the line.

Lobos Amanda Best and Porche Torrance scramble for a loose ball in win over Aggies.

The Lobos got the same opportunity at the other end when Kielpinski made a free throw, then missed, and UNM's Best got the board. The Lobos did not convert, lost the ball on a turnover, and Lowe scored out of transition for NMSU to pull the Aggies within a point at 52-51. The Aggies tied the game 52-all at the 3:42 mark when Lowe rolled in the second of two free throws.

UNM's Best picked a good time to score her first points of the game as she posted up and scored inside to give UNM a 54-52 lead. Jasmine Rutledge made one of two free throws to cut UNM's lead to 54-53. Patterson had a good look at a backdoor bucket, but the freshman missed and UNM lost the ball out of bounds.

The Aggies made the Lobos pay when Lowe came down and hit a trey to push the Aggies up 56-54. Kielpinski had been killing the Aggies all night and NMSU left her alone on the edge at the 2:00 mark. She banged in another trey to put the Lobos up 57-56. Spence was fouled with 1:45 to play and made one: 57-all.

Best got fouled with 1:24 to go and made both free shots: 59-57. Wampler missed inside and Patterson got the board and got fouled. The Lobo freshman made both free shots and UNM was up 61-57. UNM's Flanagan called timeout with 1:07 to play, up by four points.

NMSU missed a trey and Best chased down the rebound for the Lobos. UNM ran some offense before Flanagan called another timeout with 33 seconds to play. Kielpinski missed a trey, and Patterson fouled Lowe with 18 seconds to play. The Aggie made one free shot: 61-58. Torrance claimed the rebound and got fouled with 16 seconds to play. The Lobo made both shots and UNM was up 63-58. That pretty much sealed the win.

The Aggies missed, Taylor got the board and was fouled. She made both free throws to push UNM up 65-58. The Aggies scored an uncontested layup at the buzzer to form the 65-60 final.

First Half: Lobos 33, New Mexico State 22
Lobo Stat Leaders: Kielpinski 10 pts., 5 rebs.; Taylor 9 pts., Toben 6 pts.

The Lobos had the edge in several statistical categories to grab a 33-22 halftime lead. UNM shot 40.7 percent from the field to 38.5 percent for NMSU. The Lobos had six turnovers to 11 for the Aggies. UNM went 7-of-8 from the line while the Aggies never reached the line. UNM also had four 3-pointers to two bombs for the visitors from Las Cruces.

The Lobos took a quick 2-0 lead off a Taylor drive and layup. At the 15:19 break, UNM came off a Kielpinski bucket to huddle with a 9-6 lead.

Both teams were playing solid defense, pressuring the ball, and limiting the enemy's scoring opportunities. At the 10:58 break, the Lobos were up 11-8. Taylor went into the break with seven points. UNM came out of that huddle and got a Tina Doughty jumper to make it 13-8.

The Aggies then threw out a 5-0 run finalized by a Kaitlyn Soto trey to tie the game at 13-all. UNM used a four-point Kielpinski run to go up 17-13. A Wampler bucket cut UNM's lead to 17-15 going into the 7:15 media stop. The Lobos then went on a 6-0 run highlighted by a Kielpinski trey and a 16-foot jumper by Patterson. The Pit's scoreboard moved to 23-15 and NMSU called a timeout.

The Aggies went inside to the dangerous Wampler, who scored to make it 23-17. Patterson hit another jumper to push UNM back up by eight, 25-17. The Lobos expanded their lead to 28-17 when Morgan Toben banged in a 3-pointer off a Kielpinski feed. UNM upped that lead to 13 points, 30-17, off two free throws by Taylor at the 1:16 mark. Toben was successful on another long trey to hand her team a 33-19 lead. Soto hit a late trey for the Aggies to form the 33-22 halftime count.