Feb. 11, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. --- Last time New Mexico played Wyoming, Caroline Durbin set a new career high with 29 points. Unfortunately, that contest in The Pit ended in defeat for the Lobos, despite a personal best effort from Durbin.
In Laramie, it was a different story.
New Mexico posted a second half comeback in roaring fashion, fueled by none other than Durbin herself. After scoring just four points in the first half, Durbin's hot hand put up 19 second-half points to lead the Lobos to a 60-57 victory Saturday afternoon. Five of those 19 were the first five of the half, giving New Mexico a lead that they refused to relinquish for the remainder of the half.
The win didn't come easy though, as Wyoming chipped away at the Lobos' 11-point lead as the clock wound down. With 2:41 to play, New Mexico found themselves with possession of the ball, but just a four-point lead. With 47 seconds to play, New Mexico put a Wyoming shooter on the line and was clinging to a two-point, 56-54 lead.
Alison Gorrell went 1-for-2, allowing New Mexico to hang on to the one point lead, and then it was the Lobos turn to take to the charity stripe. After going 1-for-2 in her only other trip to the line, Lauren Taylor drained two free-throws with 24 seconds left to put New Mexico up, 58-55. Wyoming's Ashley Sickles shot a three for the tie with 11 seconds to go, but her miss forced the Cowgirls to foul Nikki Nelson with seven to play.
Nelson followed Taylor's suit, pouring in both free-throws to put New Mexico up 60-55.
Wyoming's Chaundra Sewell laid in a would-be last-ditch effort with less than a second to go, but New Mexico tipped the ball out of bounds on the inbounds pass, giving Wyoming one last chance to tie with half a second left of the clock. The Cowgirls' Kaylee Hoffman hurled the ball down court, but it found the hands of Porche Torrance, giving New Mexico its first MW road win this season.
With the win, New Mexico snapped Wyoming's three-game win streak and improved to 8-15 on the season, 2-7 in the Mountain West. Wyoming fell to 9-13, 5-4 in the conference.
Durbin shot 10-for-14 from the floor, 3-for-4 from downtown to finish the game with 23 points. She was joined in double-figures by Nelson with 11 points, five boards and five assists, and Taylor with 10 points off the bench and two helpers.
After shooting 40.7 percent in the first half, New Mexico recorded a 50 percent accuracy in the second half. The team forced Wyoming into 17 mishaps for 14 points while logging only 12 and giving up just eight points off of turnovers.
Sewell finished the game with 15 points and eight boards. Kaitlyn Mileto also logged 15, while Kayla Woodward had 13 points.
New Mexico returns home to The Pit to take on San Diego State on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.
The Lobos and the Cowgirls went neck-and-neck early on, seeing four tie scores over the first four minutes of play. New Mexico put the first points on the board on a three-ball by Nikki Nelson, and the teams traded baskets until the Cowgirls took their first lead, 12-10, with 15:35 to play.
Both offenses slowed at that point, but the Cowgirls were able to maintain a slight lead on the contest despite their struggles to get shots off. Their saving grace however was holding the Lobos scoreless for over four minutes until Porche Torrance broke the ice with a layup with 7:17 to play in the half.
Torrance's two cut the lead to three, 21-18 to Wyoming, but New Mexico was unable to convert on its possessions. The Lobos got four straight stops after coming within three, but it took several minutes of back-and-forth play before the Lobos could close the gap to one (20-21) on a jumper by Jayme Jackson.
Turnovers by both teams kept the scoring margin within three, but New Mexico's persistence prevailed when Lauren Taylor hit a long three with just under two minutes left on the clock to give the Lobos a 25-23.
Taylor's three was the start of arguably some of the most exciting minutes of the game. Wyoming's Chaundra Sewell tied the game at 25-all with 54 seconds to play, but a foul on the offensive end by Chinyere Nnaji put Ashley Sickles on the line for a one-and-one. Sickles first shot pinged off the back iron, giving UNM another chance to take the lead with 35 to play in the half.
The Cowgirls secured a defensive rebound with a long 12 seconds to play which turned into a Sewell layup that gave WYO a 27-25 lead, but Sickles was called for a foul on Lauren Taylor, the Mountain West's leading free-throw shooter.
With under five seconds to play, it looked as though the teams would head into the locker room with a tie ball game. Unfortunately, Taylor went 1-for-2 after being iced on her first shot, sending New Mexico into the half trailing 26-27.
New Mexico shot a respectable 40.7 percent from the floor in the first half, but allowed a 52.6 percent effort from the Cowgirls.
As has become her trend, Caroline Durbin showed up in true form in the second twenty, scoring the first five points of the half to give New Mexico a 31-29 lead at the first media timeout. Durbin, who scored just four in the first half, continued to fuel the Lobos' 11-3 run over the first six minutes of the half, as New Mexico headed logged a more comfortable 37-30 lead with 14:14 remaining in the game.
The momentum continued for New Mexico as the Lobos went on a 10-7 run over about six minutes, logging a 47-37 with just over eight minutes to play. Wyoming tried to stick close, as Sickles drained two free-throws to close the gap, but Nelson's three with 7:50 to play put New Mexico up 11, 50-39.
It seemed as though New Mexico had settled into a comfort zone, but Wyoming wasn't finished yet.
Over the final seven minutes of play, the Cowgirls were able to chip away at New Mexico, and found themselves on the line with a chance to tie with 46 seconds to go. Gorrell went 1-for-2 though, leaving New Mexico with a slim lead that they held on to for the remainder of the game.