Jan. 9, 2010
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - If you are going to get hot, maybe Las Vegas is the place to do it.
The New Mexico Lobos threw kind of a surprise weapon at the UNLV Rebels as Lobo Jessica Kielpinski erupted for 18 points and 12 rebounds in pacing UNM to a 63-54 Mountain West Conference win Saturday in Vegas' Cox Pavilion.
The 6-foot-1 center carried a 5.5 scoring average and a 4.5 rebounding average into Vegas.
"Jessica had maybe the best game of her career," said Lobos coach Don Flanagan. "She shot well and down the stretch she knocked down some free throws we needed. Her play was excellent.
The win at Vegas was a nice rebound for the Lobos who carried a 0-1 MWC record into Vegas as a result of a Pit loss to San Diego State. The Lobos (9-5, 1-1 MWC) will be looking for back-to-back league road wins when they visit Utah on Tuesday night. The Utes were pounded Saturday at TCU. UNLV drops to 7-9 and 0-2 in league play.
The Lobos will stay in Vegas until Monday and then fly into Salt Lake City to prepare for the Utes.
Kielpinski paced a Lobo inside game that saw the Lobos outscore UNLV 34-12 in the paint. The junior's play was vital inside, especially on the board, as the Rebs outrebounded UNM 40-36.
Lauren Taylor joined Kielpinski in double figures with 11 points while seniors Amy Beggin and Eileen Weissmann each had nine points. The Lobos shot only 4-of-20 from 3-point range with Taylor going 3-of-6.
The Lobos got 28 points from their bench with Taylor and Weissmann combining for 20 of those points. The Rebs were led by Erica Helms with 17 points and Reb Jamie Smith had 10 boards. UNLV got 13 points off their bench.
"We needed this win just to keep up with everyone else," said Flanagan. "If you can get a win on the road, that's important and it's difficult to play on this floor. I can see them (UNLV) beating three or four or five teams here. They are a team that is difficult to defend and they always play hard."
"They (Lobos) are happy right now. I like what we did defensively. We did a nice job of covering shooters. Hopefully, we'll get a little more confidence from this win. Our effort was good today."
The Lobos led the Rebs 26-20 at the half and 30-24 at the 16:34 mark of the second half. The Rebs cut UNM's lead to 33-31 with 14:20 to play. UNM went up 37-31 on a tip by Kielpinski before UNLV raced back to make it 39-37 at the 10:24 mark.
The Rebs finally tied the game 44-all at the 6:24 mark. UNM upped a 48-47 lead to 50-47 on a layup by Sara Halasz and went up 52-47 on a Weissmann layup. An old-fashion 3-point play by Kielpinski pushed UNM up 55-47 with 1:49 to go.
Two free shots by Taylor at 1:04 advanced UNM to a 57-50 lead and a Beggin layup with 26 seconds to play put the Lobos up by 10 points - 61-51.