STEVENS: Taylor Scores 20 As Lobos Cage Lions 74-55
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/12/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 12, 2009

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Lobo TV: Postgame Press Conference

Saturday: Lobos 74, Loyola Marymount 55
Up Next: NMSU at Lobos, Sunday (Dec. 20), The Pit

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

It's not yet Christmas, but the Lobos have at least two thoughts dancing in their heads as they head toward the holiday season that brings with it a little bit of rest and relaxation: confidence and good health.

The confidence factor was locked in with a win at Arizona followed by a 74-55 roll in The Pit Saturday over Loyola Marymount. "Our confidence is very high right now," said Lobo sophomore Lauren Taylor. "And we want to keep it up there because confidence is everything."

Yeah, confidence is good. So is health and now Lobo coach Don Flanagan is hoping the good health factor kicks in. He needs two sore ankles to get better in the dog days of December that have the Lobos playing only two game prior to the Mountain West Conference wars.

He needs senior point guard Amy Beggin back at 100 percent. He needs 6-foot wing Eileen Weissmann back on the floor, period.

"We need another physical player," said Flanagan of Weissmann missing eight Lobo games and playing only 14 minutes. "And Amy is still limping. She had not been practicing (except for shooting drills). She didn't turn it on (against Loyola Marymount) until the last four or five minutes."

In a way, Beggin wasn't all that needed Saturday against the Lions. Taylor hit 20 points, Sara Halasz kicked in 13 and Jessica Kielpinski added 10. But, of course, UNM's All-American candidate (Beggin) usually manages to toss out some decent numbers.

The senior had 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in helping UNM raise its season mark to 7-3. Beggin played 33 minutes; second only to Taylor's 34 minutes.

The Lobos shook off a 15-15 tie with Loyola Marymount to jump to a 39-26 halftime lead and threw the Lions into a 47-26 hole early in the second half. The Lions did seem to fire up after falling into that deficit, but when you stumble into a 21-point hole in The Pit, you are in trouble.

"I thought we played a good half, but we looked a little flat," said Flanagan. "There wasn't quite the intensity I would have hoped for.

"They (Lions) are tough to defend. I think we could have done a better job, but it's difficult because they are aggressive. They are better than their record (5-5) and they have athletes."

The Lobo athletes were doing pretty good, too. Taylor, being targeted as a key 3-point threat for UNM, did a nice job with head fakes and finishing drives to the basket. "I definitely could have hit a couple more threes," Taylor said of her 2-of-7 line from behind the line. "But we are working together well."

Said Flanagan: "When we are patient, we are pretty tough to defend."

LMU was paced by Renahy Young with 17 points and Candice Nichols with 10 points.

Second Half

The Lobos came out of the half up 39-26 and quickly went for Lions' throat. Beggin and Taylor tossed in treys and Halasz scored a layup off a Marymount turnover and UNM was up 47-26. The Lobos had a 21-point lead in The Pit.

The Lions threw in a couple of treys to make their deficit 49-34 at the 14:13 break. The Lobos came out of the huddle, missed a shot, and the Lions scored to make it 49-36. UNM's 21-point lead had been cut to 14 digits. At the 11:21 break, UNM was up 53-38.

The Lions tried to make a game of it in the final ten minutes and had their moments. The Lobos threw out a zone for a while and then came back with a man-to-man and with 5:10 to play, UNM was up 63-50. Loyola Marymount threw out a soft press, UNM easily broke it, and Halasz floated in a trey to push UNM up 66-50. Beggin extended UNM into a 68-50 lead with a baseline jumper over a lazy defender. At the 3:42 media break, UNM was coasting again with a 68-50 lead.

Beggin came out of the break and drilled a 3-pointer to make it 71-50. The Lobos' 21-point lead had returned to them. UNM cruised to the 74-55 final.

First Half - Lobos 39, Loyola Marymount 26

At the first media break at 15:38, the Lions were up 8-6. UNM was shooting 3-of-12 at that mark to 3-of-4 for the Lions. Just too many misses for UNM. Beggin pushed in a trey near the top of the key to make it 9-8 in UNM's favor at the 15:04 mark. Nichols countered from behind the line to put Loyola Marymount up 11-9. Neither team had put together a run and at 11:02 the game was tied 15-all.

The Lobos drifted up 19-15 on back-to-back buckets by Halasz. The first was a fast-break layup off a feed from Beggin. The second was a 12-foot jumper on the left baseline. Taylor drove the lane for a layup that put the Lobos up 21-15. Kielpinski hit a shot to make it 23-17 at the 7:36 break.

Halasz hit a long two-pointer near top of key: 25-17. The Lions got a post move from Melanie Ysaguirre and a trey from Young to pull to 27-19. Taylor scored on a nice cut and a nice pass from Halasz to push UNM up 29-22. Taylor was fouled on the drive and added a free throw at 3:42 to form a 30-22 Lobo lead.

A Halasz to Taylor to Jackson pass led to a 15-footer from Jackson and a 32-22 UNM lead. Taylor then drilled a 3-pointer that forced Loyola Marymount into a timeout, down 35-22. The Lobos had scored eight unaswered points.

The Lions came out of their huddle and got four points on two drives by Young: 35-26. The Lobos finished the scoring to take a 39-26 halftime lead. The Lobos ended up with a good shooting half: 50 percent. Taylor paced that half with 10 points and four assists. Kielpinski and Halasz each had eight points. The Lions shot 33.3 percent from the floor and were paced by Young with 14 points.