STEVENS: Lobos Shocked in The Pit 65-59 By Confident UNLV Rebels.
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/10/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 10, 2010

Box Score

Wednesday: UNLV 65, Lobos 59
Saturday: Utah at Lobos, 2 p.m., The Pit

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

The New Mexico Lobos didn't play a first-place Mountain West team in The Pit Wednesday night, but there probably was no better team in the league than the UNLV Rebels that came out and spanked the Lobos by 16 points in the second half and rolled to a 65-59 win.

"It was a very disappointing loss," said Lobo coach Don Flanagan. "When you are at home and you have 7,000 fans (7,224) behind you and you can't give a better effort than the visiting team, that bothers me. The opposing team played with more confidence."

The Lobos raced to a 36-26 halftime lead, but went flat from behind the 3-point line in the second half -- 5-of-19 -- while the Rebs went 7-of-10 from behind the line to storm to The Pit upset.

"I thought we relied on the three a little too much, didn't attack enough," said Flanagan. "When we do that, we are settling for a three. We aren't a great 3-point shooting team.

"We have to get it inside against the zone and we weren't doing that. We didn't attack anyone tonight and our interior play just crumbled."

It was an unexpected and shocking loss for the Lobos, who had just staged back-to-back-to-back wins over Brigham Young, TCU and San Diego State -- teams that were all in first place when they fell to the Lobos. The Rebels came into The Pit with a 10-13 overall mark and 3-6 in league before bumping those numbers up by one.

The Lobos fell to 15-8 and 6-4 with their second home loss in league play. It was UNLV's first win in The Pit in eight seasons.

The Lobos got 18 points from Amanda Best and 12 from Amy Beggin. Vegas was paced by Erica Helms with 17 points. UNM's Jessica Kielpinski, who scored 18 points in UNM's win at UNLV, did not score. A key stat was UNLV shooting 52 percent in the second half to 22.2 percent for UNM.

"They shot well and played with confidence," said Flanagan. "They were more confident and gave a better effort. We just have to get over this."

The Lobos play host to Utah at 2 p.m. Saturday in The Pit.

Second Half -- UNLV 39, Lobos 23

The Lobos came out of the half up 36-26. The Rebs quickly cut that lead to 36-30 and Flanagan quickly called a timeout at 18:25 to discuss a few things with his Lobos.

Sara Halasz broke the second-half ice for UNM by hitting a trey at 16:38 to make it 39-30. Vegas scored inside: 39-32. The Rebs got a baseline trey from Jamie Smith and it was a four-point game at 39-35.

Georonika Jackson drove and used the glass to push UNM up 41-35 going into a media break at 15:01. The Lobos were shooting 22.2 percent in the half at that mark to 66.7 percent for UNLV.

Best drilled a trey from the wing: 44-35. Vegas then went on a little run and cut UNM's lead to 44-42 at the 11:01 break. The Lobos were shooting 23.1 percent. Vegas had cooled to 42.9 percent. UNM had 13 shots -- nine treys.

The Rebs came out of the half and hit back-to-back treys to take a 48-44 lead. Taylor missed a trey for UNM and Vegas scored a layup out of transition: 50-44. Vegas took that lead into the 7:59 break.

The Lobos had been outscored 24-to-8. The Lobos had gone away from attacking the basket. They had 16 shots -- 12 treys and were 2-of-12 from behind the long line.

UNM's Lauren Taylor had a shot blocked on a drive and Vegas scored out of transition: 52-44. Best hit a trey to cut Vegas' lead to 52-47. Vegas answered with a trey: 55-47. Taylor got fouled on a baseline drive and hit two: 55-49. Best hit another long trey: 55-52. That shot got The Pit rocking.

Beggin cut into the Vegas lead by two more points, at the free-throw line, and UNM was a point down at 55-54 with 3:59 to play. Erica Helms then hit a trey: 58-54. UNM's Porche Torrance responded with a trey: 58-57. Vegas lost the ball on a shot-clock violation, but UNM turned it over. Vegas returned the turnover and UNM had the ball with 2:16 to play and down 58-57. Halasz missed a trey wide left.

Vegas' Kelli Thompson then hit a long trey and the Rebs were up 61-57 -- four points with 1:47 to play. The Lobos needed to score. The Rebs needed a stop. Instead, the Rebels sent Beggin to the line with 1:27 to play. Beggin hit two and UNM was down 61-59. Vegas then turned it over to the UNM press. Flanagan called time with 1:05 on the game clock and 21 on the shot clock.

UNM came out of the huddle and Best got a nice look from 15-feet, but missed. The Lobos fouled three times to place Helms at the line with 30.5 to play. The Reb swished two and UNLV was up 63-59. The Lobos launched a few more treys, turned the ball over with four seconds to go. The Rebs got the surprise 65-59 win.

First Half -- Lobos 36, UNLV 26

As Flanagan predicted, the young Rebels came at the Lobos hard. UNLV also did a good job mixing up defenses. However, the Lobos shot well, an even 50 percent (14-of-28) in the half. Vegas shot 28.6 percent. Both teams had eight turnovers.

The Lobos got nine points from Best, who scored the final seven points of the half. Beggin kicked in eight points and four assists. Kielpinski had five boards. Vegas was led by Erica Helms with nine points. Markiell Styles had six boards. UNM got 13 points from its bench, Valerie Kast with four.

At the first media break at 15:43, the Lobos were down 7-5. That score came after a Beggin trey pulled UNM out of a 7-2 hole. Best came out of the break, worked the baseline, and tied the game 7-all with a six-foot jumper.

The teams put on a run-and-gun show for the next five minutes. The Lobos' Eileen Weissmann tied the game at 10-all with a trey off the left wing. UNM finally snatched a 12-10 lead when Beggin tapped away a Rebel pass, ran down the ball on the sideline, and fed Jackson on a drive.

The Lobos got a 17-15 lead on a long Beggin trey from the top of the key that rolled around the rim and dropped. Kast kept the Lobos up 19-17 on a drive and left-handed hook. UNM finally broke out of a 19-19 tie when Nikki Nelson popped in a 3-pointer on the right wing. The Lobos took that 22-19 lead into the 7:43 media break. UNM was shooting 52.9 percent at that point with five turnovers. UNLV was shooting 34.8 percent with six miscues.

UNM drifted up 26-22 on a Kast bucket inside. Vegas cut it to 26-24. Beggin drove to beat the shot clock and threw a spinner off the glass for a 28-24 UNM lead. Vegas cut it to 28-26. That score held up going into the 3:26 break. The Lobos had two more field goals at that point and the Rebs were 4-of-4 from the line to 0-of-3 for UNM.

A Best trey moved UNM into a 32-26 lead. Vegas threw up an air ball trying to beat the shot clock and fouled Best on the rebound. Best made one: 33-26. The Lobos also got the last shot of the half. It was a long trey by Best that dropped. UNM took a 36-26 lead into the half.

New Mexico Postgame Quotes
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
New Mexico vs. UNLV

New Mexico Head Coach Don Flanagan
On New Mexico's lack of confidence
"From my vantage point, it looked like they out-hustled us, out-worked us, and then out-played us. They played with more confidence than we did. I have no idea why. We just got done playing three good games and now we're down. The only thing I can get out of this is that I really don't have consistent players that I can depend on for a game. They might have a great game, then an average game, and then a poor game. So I really don't know who's ready to play. That's difficult for a coach."

On UNLV's defense
"I thought they did a nice job of mixing up the defenses. We mixed it up right back at them. It didn't seem to bother them but it bothered us. In the second half, it took us about eight minutes before we really decided to play hard. We let them have a four or six point lead before we decided to play hard. I just don't understand this group. I don't understand any team that will not give 100% and will not play with confidence at home against a team that they beat on the road."

UNLV Head Coach Kathy Olivier
On a complete effort by her team tonight
"It was a total team effort and it felt so good because we worked really hard. We have such a young team, and it was nice to see the young ones believe we could really do it. They didn't buckle when the crowd got incredibly loud. They just stayed together and that's what you have to do here."

On UNLV's clutch shooting down the stretch
"What was nice about it is that we had different people step up. During our run in the second half, we had India Chaney get some buckets and we had Erica Helmes hit a big three. We also had Mia Bell and Allison Holiday hit big threes. We had so many different people help us out in different ways."

On the Rebels picking up their first win in the Pit since 2002
"This is my second year and we opened here last season. I thought 'Is this what the Mountain West is all about?' The atmosphere is incredible and it's great for women's basketball. In this type of environment, you really have to play as a team. When we played [New Mexico] the first time at our place, we felt we let that game get away. Our team doesn't mind playing on the road. This is a great environment and the Lobos don't lose here-this is a great victory for the Rebels."