Dec. 30, 2009
Wednesday: Texas A&M 84, Lobos 69
It wasn't a Lobo win or a Lobo upset of No. 10 ranked Texas A&M, but there was a strong message in New Mexico's 84-69 Pit loss to the Aggies from College Station. These Don Flanagan Lobos will not go down easily in The Pit, even to teams supposedly with superior talent and quickness.
That's a good message to send out, and also a confidence builder for these gutsy Lobos, who likely will have to run-and-gun in The Pit with a few Mountain West runners such as San Diego State and TCU.
The Lobos played the Aggies almost dead even in the first half, down 32-31 at the break. A couple of scoring spurts by A&M in the second half pushed the Lobos to the losing side of the ledger.
"I think this (game) will help us with the really athletic teams in the conference," said Lobo coach Don Flanagan. "I don't see us playing any team better than (A&M)."
A huge shot by A&M came with 7:03 to play when Aggie Tanisha Smith tossed in a 3-pointer to extend A&M to a 63-54 lead. An A&M layup by Danielle Adams pushed the Aggies up 65-56 with 6:29 to go. An Aggie layup by Smith with 4:12 to play made it 70-58. The Lobos' hole was becoming too deep against a team as quick and as talented as A&M.
The Aggies went up 72-59 with 3:49 to play before UNM made a late charge. A layup by Georonika Jackson followed by an Amy Beggin 3-pointer cut A&M lead to 72-65 with 3:05 to play. A&M made enough shots and enough free throws down the stretch to cruise to the 84-69 final.
The Lobos were paced by Beggin with 18 points. The UNM senior was joined in double figures by Jackson with 12 points and Lauren Taylor with 11 points. Amanda Best led the Lobos on the glass with seven boards. UNM had 31 rebounds to 33 for Texas A&M.
The Lobos shot 35.2 percent from the floor to 55.4 percent for A&M. "Their shooting percentage was very high and that was the difference in the game," said Flanagan. "We couldn't contain them inside. Their inside game, their inside players, were very physical and we had a difficult time matching up with them."
Said Beggin: "They shot the ball a lot better than we did."
The Aggies had four players in double figures: Adams with 19, Smith with 17, Tyra White with 16 and Sydney Colson with 13 points. Sydney Carter, Colson and Smith combined for 18 assists.
Flanagan went into the game worried about A&M's quickness forcing UNM into turnovers, but the Lobos and the Aggies both had 13 miscues. UNM had nine steals to six for A&M.
"I thought we played with great effort," said Flanagan.
Tech came out of the half up 32-31 and went up 34-31 before UNM's Jackson tied the game at 34-all on a 3-pointer. A&M then went on one of those scoring bursts and went up 49-38. That 11-point lead was accented by a 3-pointer by Tyra White, who burned UNM for nine first-half points.
The Lobos cut that 11-point hole to 55-47 at 12:35 on a trey by Beggin. A Beggin steal at 10:09 forced an A&M foul and the Lobo senior tossed in two free throws to make it 55-49 with 10:05 to play. The Lobos were hanging around.
Sara Halasz hit a jumper at 8:45 to make it 58-54 in A&M's favor. The Aggies got a layup from Danielle Adams at 8:17 to push up 60-54. The Lobos were scoring, but they needed to make some stops at the other end. The Lobos couldn't quite do it and A&M ran to that 70-58 lead and held off the Lobos for the win.
First Half -- Texas A&M 32, Lobos 31
The Aggies struck first on a jumper by Sydney Colson to take a quick 2-0 lead. UNM's Georonika Jackson tied the game at 2-all, scoring off an offensive rebound. The Lobos went into the first media break at 15:39 up 9-2, the last UNM hoop a 3-pointer from Beggin. Her only points of the half.
Best drove for a layup to hand UNM an 11-5 lead. Halasz scored in transition to keep UNM up 15-7. A&M then threw out a little run to tie the game at 16-16 with 9:12 to play. A Texas A&M 3-pointer pushed the Aggies up 19-16 before UNM recaptured the lead 20-19 on back-to-back baskets by Jessica Kielpinski.
The Lobos were still up 25-21 at the 5:51 mark on two free throws by Taylor. A&M was up 26-25 at the 5:05 mark and UNM was up 28-26 at 4:03 on a trey by Best and up 30-28 on a jumper by Valerie Kast. A&M got four straight free throws from Colson to carry a 32-31 lead into the break.
It was a good half for UNM on the scoreboard and in the confidence department. The Lobos showed they could play with the Aggies. UNM also did not allow A&M to throw out any major offensive runs. UNM shot 36 percent from the floor in the first half to 41.4 percent for A&M. The Lobos did major damage at the line going 11-of-13.
The all-important points-off-turnovers category leaned to UNM's favor: 9 points to 8. Taylor led UNM with six points while Best and Kielpinski each had five points. The Aggies were led in the first 20 minutes by Tyra White with nine, Sydney Colson with seven and Tanisha Smith with seven.