Feb. 17, 2009
Tuesday: Lobos 52, BYU 37
Up Next: Lobos at San Diego State, 3 p.m., Saturday
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Lobo Amy Beggin, who almost went into the front row after a Brigham Young push, called it a "grind-it-out" game. True. Lobo coach Don Flanagan called it a "physical, defensive game." Also true. Nobody called it a thing of beauty.
The New Mexico Lobos' 52-37 Mountain West Conference win over BYU Tuesday in The Pit definitely wasn't a game of finess or style or offensive beauty. The Lobos shot 26.1 percent in the first half. BYU shot 14.3 percent. The Lobo guns roared to a 31.3 percent finish. BYU warmed up to shoot 28 percent.
The teams combined to miss 69 shots and only one player on the court, who shot more than two shots, hit 50 percent or better. That was UNM's Eileen Weissmann, who went 2-of-3, all from 3-point range. She also had seven rebounds, one assist, one blocked shot and one steal in 25 minutes.
"She just does so many little things that don't show up on the stat sheets at the end," Beggin said of Weissmann. "She doesn't always get the most points or the most rebounds, but she is a vital part of our team."
It was very much a two-Lobo show in the scoring column as Senior Angela Hartill had 18 points and Beggin had 17 to total 35 points. The rest of the UNM team came in with 17 points. Flanagan got four points off his bench, two points apiece for Georonika Jackson and Jessica Kielpinski.
"It's really important that you don't have a two-player team," said Flanagan. "It's not something I'm promoting. We just seem to have this nervousness on offense. We have a tendency to be nervous and afraid to make mistakes. Their (defensive) pressure probably bothered us, but I didn't like the impatience."
There might not have been much beauty on the floor, but there was at least one pretty sight for Flanagan on paper as he saw his Lobos' record flip to 18-6 overall and 7-4 in MWC play. The Lobos have a huge road game Saturday at San Diego State. The Lobos need to avenge an earlier Pit loss to the Aztecs.
Hartill and Beggin might have been the scoring leaders for UNM, but two other starters, Weissmann and Amanda Best, had some nice stats. Best had 10 rebounds and five points. The rest of the seven Lobos combined to go 1-of-14 from the floor.
"To their (BYU) credit, they played good defense," said Flanagan. "It wasn't that our offense was that bad. Our defense was pretty much smothering." The Lobos ended up with one more made field goal than BYU, but floored the Cougars from the line going 16-of-19 to 4-of-7 for the visitors from Provo, Utah.
"In that game, somebody needed to have a way to score," said Flanagan. "Getting to the free throw line was very important."
The Lobos jumped to an early 8-0 and it looked like they might blow BYU out of The Pit. The Cougars opened the game going 0-of-12 from the floor. But then BYU's defense kicked in and the Lobos muscled out an 18-11 halftime lead. The Lobos scored 34 points in the second half.
"We started being a little more patient on offense," said Hartill, who had no fouls in the game. "I thought we started playing a little better (offense) and kept playing great defense."
Both teams opened up the second half with improved shooting, but that wasn't difficult since BYU shot 14.3 percent in the first half and UNM shot 26.1 percent. Still, it was BYU with the hotter hand early and after a Mindy Nielson bucket cut UNM's lead to 25-20, Flanagan called a timeout at the 15:56 mark.
The Cougars opened the second half going 4-of-6 with Nielson scoring seven of BYU's first nine points. She had not scored in the first half. UNM was 3-of-7 for 42.9 percent.
Hartill pushed UNM up 27-20 on a 10-footer and Weissmann drilled a 3-pointer following an offensive board by UNM to push the Lobos up 10 points, 30-20. BYU's Jazmine Foreman came back with a trey and a 15-footer to make it 30-25. Jackson hit a field goal for UNM to make the score 32-25 going into a media timeout at 11:57. BYU already had more than doubled its points from the first half, but had not cut into UNM's seven-point halftime lead.
Hartill came out of the break and knocked down two free throws to push the Lobos up 34-25. Foreman hit two free throws at 11:29 to make it 34-27. BYU's Coriann Wood banged in a long trey to cut UNM's lead to 34-30. Weissmann gave UNM a seven-point gap with another trey to make it 37-30.
Beggin threw in a running jumper at 7:54 and The Pit got into UNM's 39-30 lead that BYU's Nielson quickly cut to 39-32, getting open underneath. At the 7:04 media break, it was still 39-32 with UNM shooting 38.1 percent and BYU 57.1 percent. Both teams had eight field goals at that point.
Foreman picked up her fourth foul at 4:45, holding UNM's Amanda Adamson on a drive. Cassie King, BYU's post, picked up her fourth a few seconds later reaching over Kielpinski. The Cougars came out of a break at 3:48 and threw up an air ball. King came down and held Kielpinski and King went to the bench at 3:48 with her fifth foul.
At the 3:48 timeout, Hartill and Beggin had combined for 26 points, 13 apiece. The rest of the UNM team had 13 points total. Kielpinski came out of the timeout to hit two free throws to make it 41-34.
BYU then missed a trey and Hartill got fouled following a Adamson shot and added two more free shots to raise UNM's lead to 43-34. BYU's Shawnee Slade hit a 3-pointer to cut the gap to 43-37. Hartill rolled in a layup off a Beggin pass to beat the shot clock and make it 45-37. Foreman forced a shot over Beggin and UNM came down, worked the clock down to a Kielpinski miss, but UNM's Best got the rebound. Flanagan called a timeout with 1:17 to play and up 45-37.
BYU came out of the break and quickly fouled Hartill, who missed, but Weissmann got the board. She got fouled and knocked down two free throws at 1:11 to push UNM up 47-37. UNM milked the clock and the free throw line into the 52-37 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 The Richard Stevens Corner