Lobos Lose 61-54 to Northern Colorado
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/15/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 15, 2011

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The Lobo women's basketball team fell to 3-7 on the season as the Lobos closed out an eight-game home stand with a loss to Northern Colorado, 61-54, Thursday night in The Pit.

"It was a really disappointing game all around," said Lobo coach Yvonne Sanchez. "I thought we didn't have much energy so they were able to come in and shoot the ball well and do some really nice things.

"I thought we were lethargic tonight, we were out of it. We didn't have the same energy that we've had in the past few games and we're all, as a team, pretty disappointed in the performance."

New Mexico's Jourdan Erskine put the first points on the board after tip-off to give the Lobos a 2-0 lead, but right from the start the Bears had an answer for everything.

D'shara Strange answered Erskine's two with a jumper, which Nikki Nelson followed up with a three-pointer to put UNM up 5-2. However, UNC's Kaisha Brown answered with a three of her own to knot the game at five less than a minute and a half in.

The two teams traded leads again as UNM went up 6-5 on a free-throw by Porche Torrance, UNC 7-6 on a layup, and then UNM once more on a Caroline Durbin three with 16:58 to play in the half.

Unfortunately, that would be the last time the Lobos would lead the contest. Brown matched Durbin's three to set the score at 10-9 in favor of the Bears, and Northern Colorado built steadily to a lead as large as 13 points. Northern Colorado took an 11-point, 35-24 edge into the locker room.

Northern Colorado had a colossal first-half shooting effort of 65.2 percent from the floor and 50 percent from behind the arc. Brown and Strange led the shooting effort with 13 and 12 points respectively.

"You can't get down about that, that they had a great shooting night," said UNM's Lauren Taylor. "They are great shooters, not that great of shooters usually, but that happens. We have games like that as well."

Meanwhile, the Lobos mustered just a 29 percent effort from the floor in the first half, with Durbin and Erskine pacing the offense with six first-half points apiece. Typically strong in the paint, the Lobos gave up twice as many points down low than they scored in the first half (20-10).

The Bears came out of the locker room with continued momentum. Although they couldn't match the 65 percent first half shooting performance, a 13-8 run over the first eight minutes of the second half opened the lead to 16, the largest of the game for UNC.

Erskine and Taylor once again fueled the offense in the second half with seven and eight points respectively, but their efforts weren't enough to match UNC's Brown with nine second-half points and Kim Lockridge, who put up 10 points.

Lockridge also grabbed eight boards in the second half, 11 on the game as the Bears outrebounded the Lobos  46-32 and nabbed 20 second-chance points to New Mexico's 10.

"Usually we out rebound the opponent but for some reason tonight it just didn't happen," said Erskine. "I know I forgot to box out a few times and that helped give them the edge. We have to go back to the fundamentals."

New Mexico did get some key performances off the recently deepened bench which chipped in 19 points to Northern Colorado's zero off the bench. One of those clutch performances came from mid-season walk-on Jamie Parker, a freshman native to Albuquerque whose first career points came on a three that cut the UNC lead to single digits, 52-43, with under seven minutes to play.

Yet the Bears answered once again with a 7-3 run to jack the lead back up to a comfortable 13 points with 1:45 to play. The Lobos were resilient as always and scored seven straight to chip away to a 59-53 mark with 34 seconds to play, but their efforts were too little too late. Erskine kicked off the scoring on the game and closed out the scoring going 1-for-2 at the charity stripe in the final second of play, leaving the final score at 61-54.

Brown led the Bears with 22 points, while Lockridge logged a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards. Strange also logged 16 points and chipped in nine rebounds.

Erskine notched her second career double-figure scoring effort and first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Taylor had 12 points. Durbin was the only other Lobo to notch double figures with a 10-point effort.

New Mexico saw a bright spot with a smaller than typical turnover figure. The Lobos threw away the ball just eight times to UNC's 18 miscues. It marked the first time this season UNM didn't log double-figures in the turnover column, and the first time that the Lobos scored more points on turnovers than an opponent (11-8).

Thursday's game against UNC marked the last home contest of 2011, as New Mexico will hit the road to Houston Baptist (Dec. 18) and Arizona (Dec. 22) before the Christmas break, and close out the year against New Mexico state in Las Cruces on Dec. 30.