March 13, 2004
CHAMPIONSHIP PRE-GAME NOTES (March 13, 2004)
#1 NEW MEXICO vs. #2 UTAH
All-Time Series: Utah leads 39-12
Season Series: 1-1(Utah won at Salt Lake City, 52-43; UNM won at Albuquerque, 49-46)
MWC Tournament Series: First meeting
MWC Tournament Title Game Records:
UNM 1-0 (won 2003 MWC Tournament)
Utah 1-0 (won 2000 MWC Tournament)
Overall Conf. Tournament Title Game Records:
UNM 2-0 (won 1998 WAC Tournament and 2003 MWC Tournament)
Utah 5-3 (won HCAC 1989, 1990; WAC 1991, 1995; MWC 2000).
Utah makes its ninth appearance in a conference tournament championship game, while the Lobos make their third.
Today's game marks the first time since 2000 the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds meet in the MWC Tournament finals. No. 1 Utah def. No. 2 BYU in the 2000 finals, 61-47.
New Mexico is only the second team in MWC Championship history to appear in the title game in consecutive years. BYU is the only team to accomplish the feat as the Cougars made the finals four straight times before this year's loss in the quarterfinals.
The top three seeds have advanced to the semifinals every year of the MWC Tournament and the No. 2 seed has made the finals four of five years, winning the title twice (CSU 2001, UNM 2003). The No. 1 seed has not been to the title game since 2000 when Utah captured the championship. The No. 3 seed has been to the title game once and won (BYU 2002).
MWC TOURNAMENT RECORDS (not including final game)
New Mexico had an MWC record 10 blocked shots in the first half vs. Air Force in the quarterfinals. (Melissa Forest was one block shy of Jordan Adams' single-game tournament record (5) vs. SDSU in last year's quarterfinal game.)
New Mexico's Melissa Forest tied the single-game MWC Tournament record with 11 made field goals vs. Air Force.
Colorado State's Jasai Ferrucho posted an MWC Tournament single-game record six steals vs. Wyoming in the quarterfinals.
Attendance for session two was 2,248 - with the record session one total of 2,924, the MWC Tournament women's quarterfinals totaled over 5,000 in attendance for the second straight year.
Session 1: 2,924 (record)
Session 2: 2,248
Session 3: 3,712
Championship: 4,281 (first year women's final was stand alone session)
TOTALS: 13,165 (3,921 average)
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME NOTES (March 13, 2004)
#1 NEW MEXICO vs. #2 UTAH
New Mexico will carry an 11-game win streak into the NCAA Tournament. The Lobos have won an MWC record six straight games in conference tournament play and are the first team to repeat as MWC Tournament champions. New Mexico will host the NCAA First and Second Rounds at The Pit March 20 & 22.
New Mexico will make its fourth NCAA appearance. The Lobos advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 last year and have an NCAA postseason record of 2-3. Utah will hope to make its 13th NCAA appearance - the Utes were an NCAA Sweet 16 participant in 2001. The selection show for the 2004 NCAA Tournament is Sunday, March 14 at 3 p.m. (MT) on ESPN.
New Mexico is now a perfect 3-0 in conference tournament championship games, winning in 1998, 2003 and 2004. The Lobos are 8-3 in MWC Tournaments, while the Utes are now 7-4. The 21-point margin was the largest in an MWC Tournament championship game.
New Mexico's Melissa Forest set the MWC Tournament championship game record by hitting 4-of-6 three-pointers (.667)-that also ties the overall MWC Tournament record. Forest was one point shy of tying the MWC Tournament championship game scoring record with 18 points.
Utah started the game just 1-of-7 from the field (and was 1-of-9 in first 5:45 of the game), while New Mexico scored on four of its first five possessions to take a 10-2 lead at 16:55 of the first half. Utah used a 9-2 run to close to within 14-13 with 11:48 remaining. The Utes took their first lead of the game, 20-19, on a Carley Marshall layup with 8:08 in the half. (Overall, the Utes used a 9-0 scoring spurt to erase a 19-15 deficit and take a 24-19 lead with 6:00 to go in the half.)
Utah outscored New Mexico 18-4 in the paint in the first 20 minutes of the game. The Utes also totaled 14 second-chance points after grabbing 10 offensive rebounds in the first half. The Lobos had two offensive boards in the first stanza, which led to two points.
New Mexico used a 16-2 run to open the second half and take a 48-34 lead at the 12:59 mark of the second half. Utah was 1-of-6 from the field in that stretch and New Mexico was 7-of-9 with two three-pointers. The Lobos took their largest lead of the game, 58-37, on Katie Montgomery's three-pointer with 9:55 remaining. The final margin matched the largest lead (21 points - 71-50).
Utah rattled off an 8-0 run to pull within 60-48 with 5:16 remaining, but New Mexico answered with five straight points to extend the Lobo lead to 65-48 with under four minutes to play.
New Mexico's Mandi Moore played 17 minutes of the first half before suffering a cut on the inside of her upper lip - she did not return to the game until the 5:45 mark of the second half.
New Mexico set the championship game record for free throws and attempts (17-of-22).
Utah's Kim Smith finished the game with 12 points and has scored double figures in 15 of her last 16 games. Smith became only the second sophomore in MWC history to reach 1,000 career points after scoring 30 points in the tournament - she now has 1,020 career points in two seasons. Shona Thorburn had a team-high 13 points and has scored double figures in six straight games.
2004 MWC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
|MVP-Lindsey Arndt||New Mexico|
|Melissa Forest||New Mexico|
THIS & THAT ON THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
New Mexico is the only team to shoot under 40 percent from the field in the title game and win. The Lobos shot 32 percent from the field (16-of-50) vs. BYU last year - the Cougars shot 35.8 percent (19-of-53) from the field.
Defense has been the key in MWC Tournament title games. The MWC Tournament champion has held the opponent to 50 points or less in four of the last five title games, including New Mexico's 71-50 victory over Utah today: 2000 - Utah 61, BYU 46 2002 - BYU 61, UNLV 47 2003 - UNM 52, BYU 46 (Colorado State def. BYU 59-56 in 2001)
The past four years, the MWC Tournament champion has led the tournament field either in scoring offense or scoring defense, but never both. This year's title game matched the tournament's top scoring offense (Utah) with the top scoring defense (New Mexico).
|Year||Scoring Defense (min. 2 games)||Scoring Offense (min. 2 games)|
|2000||*Utah (47.0)||Colorado State (74.0)|
|2001||Utah (53.5)||*Colorado State (66.3)|
|2002||UNLV (52.3)||*BYU (71.3)|
|2003||*New Mexico (48.7)||Utah (71.0)|
New Mexico is the only team to win the MWC Tournament title game after trailing at halftime. Last year, BYU held a 24-22 lead at the break, but the Lobos outscored the Cougars 30-22 in the second stanza to capture the title. This year, the Lobos and Utes were tied 32-32 at the break.