Stevens: That Green-Eyed Pit Assassin Was Lobo Lauren Taylor
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/15/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 15, 2010

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Lobo Women's Basketball - In The Pit
Lobos 71, UC Irvine 59
Saturday: 2 p.m., California at Lobos

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

If the UC Irvine Anteaters have nightmares tonight featuring a green-eyed assassin on a mission, it won't be Uma Thurman in a Pit rendition of "Kill Bill." It will be Lobo Lauren Taylor in her Pit rendition of killing a zone.

The Anteaters tried to surprise the New Mexico Lobos Monday night in The Pit with a quick-moving 2-1-2 zone. It worked for a while. It worked until Taylor got hot from the edge. The junior tossed in a career-high five treys, and tied her career high of 22 points as UNM beat the Anteaters 71-59.

"It was a good night. I'm glad my teammates set me up for all those shots," said Taylor. "We executed and got the good shots. We hadn't really practiced against (a zone). We had been practicing our man offense all week."

Lobo coach Don Flanagan said he didn't get a game tape of Irvine's first game and had to scratch out a few offensive schemes on the chalkboard at half. His drawings worked well. UNM scratched out of a 33-29 halftime lead to pull away for the 12-point win.

"I didn't expect a trapping zone," said Flanagan. "We didn't prepare for it. It stalled us a little bit."

The win might not have been as easy as the score suggests, but, also, you never had the impression the Anteaters were capable enough on offense to steal a Pit victory. Irvine shot 37 percent from the floor - 43.5 percent in the second half. The Lobos got a lot of timely buckets in the second half, shot 55.6 percent from trey range in that half, and evened their season record at 1-1. Irvine falls to 0-2.

The Lobos got a good floor game and some timely buckets from true freshman Jasmine Patterson, who had a career-high 11 points. Junior Porche Torrance had a solid all-around game with nine points, three blocked shots and four steals.

"It was a big confidence booster," Patterson said of the win. "We were all down when we lost to (Texas) Tech. I know how I can play and I had to go out there and play defense. I'm a driver. I'll shoot if I'm open, but I like to drive."

Said Flanagan: "I thought Jasmine gave us a lift with her defense and explosiveness. She has tunnel vision on offense. She kind of sees the basket and it doesn't matter who is in her way."

A big turnaround in the game came on the glass. Irvine won the first half 23-15, with 11 offensive boards. The final count was 38-35 in UNM's favor and Irvine added only two offensive boards in the second half. Irvine also had 23 turnovers to 18 miscues for UNM.

Flanagan said his halftime instructions for board work were simple: Find your man, block her out. Lobos Amanda Best and Erin Boettcher each pulled down six rebounds.

UNM shot 38.9 percent from the floor to 37 percent for Irvine. UNM also shot 20-of-26 from the line to 14-of-20 for Irvine. Irvine was paced inside by Mikah Maly-Karros with 21 points and 13 rebounds. "That (Maly-Karros) is a tough kid," said Flanagan.

Lobo Tina Doughty had a career-high six assists and Best had a career-high five assists.

Flanagan said he wasn't happy with the 18 turnovers committed by his Lobos, but it was more the type of turnover that bothered him, not just the number.

"We are making errors which are hurting us, errors in judgment," he said. "It's more stress kind of turnovers. They don't do it that much in practice, but it will come out in the games. There isn't much you can do about it until they play some games. They are going to make errors. They are young and they get nervous for almost any reason."

The Lobos' next opponent might be a good reason for the young Lobos to be nervous. The California Bears are in The Pit featuring All-American candidate DeNesha Stallworth, who had 23 points and 10 boards in Cal's last win, 89-63, over Saint Mary's. The 2-0 Golden Bears also have a 66-57 wn over Rudgers.

Second Half -- Lobos 38, UC Irvine 30

The second half had a good start for the Lobos on the scoreboard and a bad start for senior center Jessica Kielpinski. Junior Lauren Taylor opened the half with a 3-pointer. A few seconds later, at 18:46, Kielpinski had to be helped off the floor, hopping on one foot.

Kielpinski never returned and finished the game sitting on the end of the UNM bench with an ice pack wrapped around her right ankle.

The Lobos' good start on the scoreboard continued. UNM jumped up 44-31 fueled by another Taylor 3-pointer followed by two free throws from Erin Boettcher. The athletic Anteaters needed to respond with a run, but had not had a whole lot of luck scoring on the Lobo defense.

At the 15:38 media break, UNM was up 44-33. A Lobo turnover allowed Irvine a layup and the 44-35 count on the board convinced Lobo coach Don Flanagan to call a timeout with 14:47 to play. The Lobos got a nice look inside from Boettcher, but her miss turned into an Irvine trey: 44-38. Chinyeye Nnaji hit a 6-footer inside to push UNM up 46-38.

Taylor stayed hot on the perimeter and her trey from the right side made it 49-39. It was her 14th point. UNM was back up by ten. Amanda Best knocked down her first trey of the game to put UNM up 52-40. The Lobos were knocking down the long shots over a quick-moving Irvine zone. At the 11:52 media break, it was UNM 52, Irvine 44.

A Lobo steal led to a Jourdan Erskine layup and a 54-44 UNM lead. Patterson fed Porche Torrance on a drive for a layup and a 56-44 lead. The Anteaters got back-to-back steals, but bricked a layup and fell down on a crossover dribble to lose the ball. Patterson made Irvine pay with a driving layup that pushed UNM up 58-44. It was UNM's biggest lead of the game to that point.

The Anteaters still needed that run - a difficult thing to need in The Pit. With 7:43 to play, UNM was up 12 points, 60-48. UNM was 4-of-6 from trey range at that mark. Irvine was running out of time and needed to abandon the zone defense to try to change its luck down the stretch run.

The Anteaters did make the defensive switch. A minor Irvine run cut UNM's lead to 62-52 with 5:53 to play. Flanagan called a timeout. His Lobos need to do a better job on the backside of their defense. Irvine had scored twice in transition.

Irvine came out of the break and fell back into its zone. Boettcher advanced UNM to a 64-52 lead with two free throws. Irvine turned the ball over and again tried the zone. Taylor made the Anteaters pay with her fifth trey of the game to push UNM up 67-52 - 15 points.

That pretty much ended it. The Lobos had their first win of the season.

First Half - Lobos 33, UC Irvine 29
Stat Leaders: Kielpinski 8 pts, Patterson 7 pts, Best/Doughty 4 assts.

The game didn't start out like either team was planning to hit the century mark. It was 3-2 Lobos at the first media break. The offenses heated up a bit to make it 12-11 in UNM's favor at the 11:14 mark.

The Lobos got a burst of energy - and points -- off the bench from freshman Jasmine Patterson. She came in and hit a trey, two free throws and a layup to help UNM stay up 16-15 at the 7:49 break. At that mark, Patterson was the game's leading scorer with seven points.

The Lobos needed a quick burst to put a scoring space between themselves and the Anteaters. They got it, accented by a Kielpinski trey. The run pushed UNM up 25-20 and forced Irvine to call a timeout. The Anteaters turned the ball over on the in-bounds pass and Kielpinski added another point at the line to make it 26-20 with 5:15 to play in the half.

The Anteaters came back with a single free throw followed by back-to-back treys to go up 27-26. UNM freshman Tina Doughty popped in a long trey near the top of the key to hand UNM a 29-27 lead. Another Irvine turnover led to a layup by UNM's Erin Boettcher and Irvine burned a timeout at 1:10, down 31-27. The teams exchanged buckets down the first-half stretch to form the 33-29 halftime count.

The Lobos shot 41.7 percent from the floor in the half. Irvine shot 32.3 percent, 10-of-31. Irvine won the board battle 23-15 to compensate for the Anteaters' 15 turnovers. UNM had 10 ball-handling miscues. The Lobos were 4-of-13 from the 3-point line and Irvine was 3-of-6 with Jacquelyn Marshall going 2-of-4. Irvine had 10 offensive rebounds to three for UNM.

Amanda Best and Doughty each had four assists. Mikah Maly-Karros had 11 points for Irvine in the first 20 minutes.