Dec. 10, 2011
**Note: The Dec. 15 University of New Mexico women's basketball game against Northern Colorado has been changed to a tip-off time of 6 p.m. Mountain time.
The Thursday night game will be played in The Pit and is the last scheduled home event for the Lobo women's squad in 2011. New Mexico will close out the 2011 calendar year with road trips to Houston Baptist, Arizona and Rio Grande rival New Mexico State.**
New Mexico Lobos Women's Basketball - In The Pit
UTEP Miners 53, New Mexico Lobos 43
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
If it had been five-on-five, starters vs. starters, the Lobos would have rolled the UTEP Miners 33-17. But when you kick in the two benches - not so good for the Lobos.
The Miners' got 36 points off their bench and pulled away from New Mexico 53-43 Saturday in The Pit. The Lobos' defense was solid as UTEP shot only 30.4 percent with its starters bricking at a 5-for-29 pace.
But UNM also came out cold, shooting 25.5 percent, with only one Lobo in double figures - Caroline Durbin with 13 - and no Lobos shooting better than 50 percent. If you take Durbin's stat line away, the other Lobo starters combined to shoot 6-of-30.
"It's disappointing because I know they are better than that," said Lobo coach Yvonne Sanchez after watching her Lobos fall to 3-6 on the year.
"It seemed like when the shots weren't falling, they got more into a rut. That's when they (Miners) made their run. Against a team like UTEP, it's hard to play catch-up."
Said Lobo point guard Nikki Nelson: "It was just an off night and it's hard when everybody is having an off night. Tonight, it wasn't quite there."
The Lobos trailed 40-32 with 11:05 to play and were down 43-38 with 6:47 to go. The Miners then ran to a 50-38 lead. UNM's Jayme Jackson hit a jumper to cut the Lobos' gap to 50-40 with 1:25 to play, but UTEP cruised to the 53-43 win to stay unbeaten at 8-0.
The Lobos scored only three field goals in the final ten minutes of the second half. UNM had seven field goals to 14 turnovers in the second half.
"We reverted back," said Sanchez of her players' ball handling. "The week off was the good and the bad. I think maybe we were a little bit rusty with some things."
Actually, there was the good, the bad and the ugly for both teams - especially in the shooting column. Amazingly, the Miners got no field goals from a starter in the first half, but carried a 24-22 lead into the break. UTEP shot 19 percent from long range for the game (4-21) and UNM was 20 percent (3-15). The Lobos were 0-of-7 from 3-point range in the second half.
"I was proud of our effort on defense," said Sanchez. "But we needed to hit some shots. They just didn't fall. We had a stretch where the wheels kind of fell off. We did probably everything wrong in that stretch."
The Lobos lost the battle in almost every stat line except rebounding where the Lobos out-boarded the taller Miners 47-40. Porche Torrance was a huge reason for the edge in that category as the senior pulled down a career-high 18 boards.
"I'm proud of that (rebounding)," said Sanchez.
Said Torrance: "I just try to crash the boards every time my teammates shoot the ball. I just try to be aggressive."
The Miners went 1-of-13 from 3-point range in the first half and came out in the second half trying to attack the basket with dribble-drives and post play. UTEP went 3-of-8 from long range in the second 20 minutes.
At the 14:41 mark, the gap on the scoreboard hadn't changed. UTEP was still guarding its two-point halftime lead, this time 32-30. The Miners had started to attack the basket a little more.
The Miners hit a trey to go up 35-30 and then stretched their lead to 40-32. Durbin and Torrance scored back-to-back layups for UNM to cut UTEP's bulge to 40-36 with 8:23 to play. UTEP hit a big trey to make it 43-36 going into a break at the 7:04 mark. UNM was shooting 29.4 percent in the half at that point and UTEP was 37.5 percent.
The Miners then got a power move inside from Gloria Brown followed by a Brown follow-up shot. UTEP was up 47-38 and Sanchez burned a timeout with 5:37 to play.
The Lobos had some opportunities to cut into UTEP's lead, but lost those on ball handling mistakes. UTEP's Kelli Willinghman turned one of those UNM miscues into a 3-point play on a drive and a UNM foul. UTEP was up 50-38 at the 3:56 timeout. The Miners cruised in for the 53-43 win to stay unbeaten on the year.
First Half: UTEP 24, Lobos 22
The Lobos did two things really well in the first half. They slowed down the Miners' transition game forcing UTEP to shoot jumpers. The Lobos also held the Miner starters scoreless until the final minutes of the half, but no Miner starter hit a field goal in the first 20 minutes.
Amazingly, UTEP's starting five went 0-of-16 from the field - 0-of-11 from 3-point range.
The Miners' strength coming into the game was supposedly their deep bench and that depth came in handy in the first half as all seven of the Miners' field goals came off the bench.
UNM got eight points from Taylor in the first half, five on the free-throw line. Durbin and Torrance had five points each. UNM shot 3-of-8 from long range and UTEP was a miserable 1-of-13 from behind the line.
The Lobos did a good job hanging with the taller Miners on the boards. UTEP took a 23-22 advantage into the break. Torrance had nine boards for UNM and Erskine had five rebounds. The Lobos had a few hurtful turnovers early against the UTEP press, but settled down and went into the locker room with only eight turnovers - six off UTEP steals.
Both teams were cold from the field with UTEP shooting 25 percent and UNM shooting 23.1 percent.
The Miners came out stone cold from the outside and didn't score a point until the 13:40 mark of the half.
UNM went up 3-0 on a Torrance 3-point play. The UNM senior got loose under the bucket, scored and was fouled. The Lobos went up 7-2 when Nelson drove the baseline and kicked out to Lauren Taylor behind the 3-point line.
Taylor's bomb rattled in and she was also was fouled and converted the four-point play. Taylor hit two free throws to make it 9-6 and Durbin banged a 15-footer off the glass to keep UNM up 11-9.
The Miners went to work inside to go up 17-12 at the 7:24 media break. Neither team was blistering from the floor at that point. UNM was shooting 21.4 percent and UTEP was at 35 percent. The Miner starters were 0-for-12 at that point and the UTEP subs were 7-of-8. UTEP was up 14-9 on the glass. The Lobos did a better job defensively and on the boards down the stretch of that half.
UNM got a shot at another four-point play at the 3:26 mark. Durbin curled out to the 3-point line and lofted in the trey as Miner Ryah Lacy crashed into her. Durbin missed the freebie and UTEP clung to a 19-18 lead. UTEP still had no points from its starters.
UTEP finally got three free throws from its starting unit and carried a two-point lead into the half.