Jan. 21, 2009
Wednesday: San Diego State 57, Lobos 52
Up Next: Lobos vs. TCU, 3 p.m. Sunday, The Pit
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
When you shoot 34.5 percent from the field, 18.2 percent from 3-point range, and lose a key Mountain West Conference game in The Pit, maybe the only thing to do is what Lobo coach Don Flanagan did Wednesday night: bite the bullet and swallow the bitter pill.
"We were home. We have no excuses. They won the game because they played better," said Flanagan after his Lobos 57-52 MWC loss to San Diego State. "We never really got our offense going. I bet we missed five, six layups. How many do we need to win that game? We were getting the shots, but not shooting with confidence."
Said Lobo sophomore Amanda Best: "This is a lesson. I think it will teach us that we have to do a lot of the little things correctly."
The little thing the Lobos didn't do correctly enough of the time that bothered Flanagan a lot of the time was running their offense with precision and confidence.
Often the Lobos were forcing up shots in one-on-one situations or not taking open shots created by good offense. Flanagan said he had too many "players who didn't want to shoot." He said maybe "fear of failure" was the reason for good shots not taken. "Our defense kept us in the game," said Flanagan. "We weren't killing ourselves with turnovers. We just couldn't shoot."
The loss dropped UNM to 14-3 on the season and 3-1 in MWC play. The Lobos play host to TCU 3 p.m. Sunday in The Pit hoping a win over the Horned Frogs will keep the No. 23-ranked Lobos in the Top 25. The Aztecs raised their overall record to 12-4 and are 3-1 in the MWC with the loss coming at Utah. "There is nothing wrong with that team," Flanagan said of the Aztecs. "That is one of the better teams in the conference."
The Lobos were paced by junior Amy Beggin with 13 points and six rebounds. Best had 11 points and seven rebounds. Eileen Weissmann had nine points and six rebounds. UNM got nine points off its bench. The Aztecs were led by 6-foot-4 Paris Johnson with 17 points and 11 rebounds. UNM outrebounded SDSU 44-to-34.
Flanagan said the statistics were pretty even, but the Aztecs had a slight edge in shooting. SDSU shot 38.2 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from behind the line, making six 3-pointers to only two for the Lobos. "Defensively, I thought we were decent," he said. "Right about where we wanted to be."
The Lobos trailed at the half 33-29, but an Angela Hartill layup off an Amanda Adamson pass put the Lobos up 37-35 with 15:29 to play. The Lobos also led 43-40, but never again took the lead from the Aztecs, who came up with big baskets and big plays down the stretch run. "We were executing and all of a sudden that disappeared," said Flanagan. "I don't know where that went."
Flanagan also blamed the loss on "nerves, pressure and questioning their own ability because we're a much better team than the way we played." "They haven't experienced a loss in a while," he said of his Lobos. "Sometimes you forget why you're winning. Maybe this will get their attention."
The Lobos came out early in the second half and beat SDSU with execution. The Aztecs' 33-29 halftime lead dissolved into a 37-35 UNM lead on a Hartill left-handed layup off a pass from Adamson. SDSU called a timeout to regroup. SDSU's Kim Spinardi came out of the break and banged in a 3-pointer to push the Aztecs back into the lead at 38-37. UNM was shooting 4-of-6 at that point of the half.
The Lobos scratched back to a 39-all tie at 11:07 on a Hartill set shot on the left baseline. The teams carried that 39-39 tie into the media timeout at 10:46. The Aztecs were 2-of-10 from the floor at that point and UNM was 5-of-11.
UNM grabbed the lead again at the 10:20 mark, 41-40, on two free throws by Best. UNM stretched it to 43-40 off a Beggin steal and a coast-to-coast drive for a layup. SDSU knotted it at 43-all on a 3-pointer by Quenese Davis. At the 6:58 media time, SDSU was up 45-43 thanks to two free throws.
The teams then exchanged baskets going into a Flanagan timeout at 5:43 with SDSU up 49-47. The Aztecs got back-to-back baskets from Johnson inside and UNM scored on a Jessica Kielpinski drive and a Best follow-up shot
The Aztecs got a break at 4:30. They turned the ball over, but UNM gave it right back on a down-court pass that was stolen. Johnson scored a layup and was fouled by Best. Flanagan called a timeout with his Lobos down 53-47 and Johnson at the line. Johnson missed but the Aztecs got the rebound. They failed to score, but worked some more time off the clock, and the media timeout at 3:57 saw UNM still down by six, 53-47.
Nether team scored on their next possession. UNM got a high backboard shot inside from Weissmann at 2:35 to make it 53-49 in favor of SDSU. The Lobos came down and played good defense and got the ball back at 2:05. Adamson shook loose for a layup, missed it, but Weissmann got the rebound which eventually led to a Weissmann layup to make it 53-51 in SDSU's favor.
The Lobos came back and played solid defense and Davis forced a bad shot for SDSU. UNM came down looking to tie or take the lead, but UNM's Best drove around a screen and got the ball taken away by Jene Morris. The Aztec went down for an easy layup and UNM was down 55-51 with 33.6 seconds to play.
Beggin went coast-to-coast and got fouled by Johnson with 25.5 seconds to go. Beggin made one and had a rare miss, but SDSU lost the ball out-of-bounds with 23.5 seconds to play.
UNM worked for the 3-pointer, but Beggin's shot was blocked and Johnson was fouled bringing down the deflected shot. The Aztecs got fouled on the in-bounds play, missed the one-and-one free throw, but Johnson got the rebound and was fouled with 3.5 seconds to play. She made the first and SDSU was up 56-52. She made the second to form the 57-52 final.
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous articles are available at