Dec. 4, 2010
By Chelsea Einerwold, Writer/GoLobos.com
Tempe, Ariz.--Back and forth and back and forth was the rhythm of Friday's game between New Mexico and Lamar University in the opening round of the Arizona State Classic. Lobo poise and perseverance in a game that was tied six times and had 10 lead changes propelled the Cherry and Silver to a 64-58 win over the Cardinals. New Mexico will face Arizona at 4 p.m. on Saturday in the championship game. The Sun Devils defeated Cal Poly, 69-58, on Friday evening.
Prior to tipoff, Lobo head coach Don Flanagan said the Lobos would need to do three things in order to defeat Lamar: get back in transition, block out and grab rebounds and shutdown Jenna Plumley, the Cardinals' senior leader.
Flanagan's bunch did just that. New Mexico was quick to get back on defense and held Lamar to 17-of-59 shooting (28 percent) from the floor and allowing only 14 points in the paint. The Lobos also out-rebounded the Cardinals, 53-45. As far as Plumley, the sharp-shooter who entered the contest averaging 14 points a night was held to 11 against New Mexico.
"That's a good team that is going to win a lot of games this year," Flanagan said of Lamar in a post-game interview on the Lobo Radio Network. "This was a big win for us on a neutral court."
The Lobos were led by junior Porche Torrance who had 12 points and 13 rebounds. It was the third double-double of the season for Torrance and third of her career. "She was tough today," said Flanagan. "She really worked and gave us a lot of opportunities by going after rebounds. " Junior forward Jourdan Erskine also had a sound night for New Mexico, offering eight points and 11 rebounds in just 19 minutes of play. Freshman point guard Tina Doughty chipped in 10.
As a team, the Lobos shot 33 percent from the floor, executing 24-of-72 attempts. New Mexico was 24 percent from behind the 3-point line, hitting only 5-of-21. The Lobos also had 24 turnovers.
A few key plays late in the second half propelled the Lobos to victory.
New Mexico had a slight 52-51 advantage over Lamar with just over two minutes to go. Senior Jessica Kielpinski forced a Lamar turnover to give the Lobos' possession. Once on the offensive end, Kielpinski found freshman Morgan Toben for a baseline 3-pointer to put New Mexico up 55-51. Not to be outdone, the Cardinals' Plumley quickly replied with a 3-pointer at the other end to put the Cardinals back within one point.
On the next trip down the court, it was Toben again from behind the arc, this time off a dish from Doughty. Her second of back-to-back treys put the Lobos up 58-54 with 1:30 remaining.
Just over a minute later, with 21 seconds left in regulation, the score was back to within two points at 60-58 New Mexico leading. It was the Lobos' ball underneath the Cardinals' basket following a 30-second Lamar timeout. New Mexico's Lauren Taylor was inbounding and threw a deep pass to freshman Jasmine Patterson who had received a screen taken off for Lobo territory. Taylor's pass was perfect and Patterson made the layup, putting New Mexico up 62-58 with 18 ticks left on the clock.
A pair of Kielpinski free throws in the final seconds ended the contest at 64-58 in favor of New Mexico.
The Lobos face Arizona State tomorrow at 4 p.m. for the championship game of the Arizona State Classic.