Stevens: Beggin's Return Sparks Lobos' 65-50 Romp Over CSU Rams
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/24/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 24, 2010

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LOBO GEAR: Going to the Mountain West tourney and want to look spiffy on the Vegas Strip and in the Thomas & Mack? The Lobos have a deal for you. Lobo Gear will be marked down 30 percent on Senior Night games in The Pit. That's Feb. 27 for the women and March 3 for the men. Go to the tents! Look Lobo cool!!

Wednesday: Lobos 65, Colorado State 50
Saturday: Brigham Young at Lobos, 4 p.m., The Pit

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

It was a second-half combination that Lobo Don Flanagan surely wishes he could bottle and shake onto his Lobos for the remainder of the season and into the Mountain West Tournament.

If he had the formula before the game, he would have splashed some on his Lobos before their jump with Colorado State.

Flanagan said his Lobos 65-50 Mountain West Conference win over Colorado State Wednesday in The Pit was a tale of two halves. And it was. It also was a tale of two Lobo teams.

The Rams were at least three points better than the Lobos in the first half in gunning to a 32-29 lead. The Lobos were at least 18 points better in the second half in rolling the Rams 36 to 18.

The Lobos shot 34.8 percent in the first half with 11 turnovers. CSU shot 48 percent.

The Lobos shot 46.2 percent in the second half with four turnovers. CSU shot 23.1 percent and ended the game with 25 turnovers. Ram Meghan Heimstra had 10 miscues on her own.

The Lobos' were in-your-face solid on defense in the final 20 minutes. They also tickled the twine enough to more than tickle Flanagan's fancy.

"We were much better in the second half," said the Lobos' coach. "We ran our offense better and we defended better."

The Lobos' defense usually is solid. The Lobo shooting comes and goes. It wasn't bad in the first half, but combined with UNM's defense in the second half, the Rams were in big trouble. UNM shot 6-of-11 from behind the arc in the second half. Amanda Best and Eileen Weissmann combined to go 6-of-6 with each Lobos nailing three bombs.

The game marked the return of senior Amy Beggin, UNM's point guard and leader, who had missed three games with a head and neck injury. "I always feel better when Amy is in there," said Flanagan.

Said Beggin: "It felt awesome to be back out there. I felt like a little kid all day waiting for the game."

Beggin drilled the Rams for 16 points. Weissmann chipped in 14 plus eight boards and Best had 11 points.

CSU outrebounded UNM 40-27, but the 25-to-15 turnover margin was huge for the Lobos. So was UNM attacking the basket and going to the line 19 times to six times for CSU. The Lobos made 15 free shots and CSU made four.

The Lobos scored an amazing 38 points off turnovers and the UNM bench outscored CSU 30 to 11.

"Some of their misses gave us some transition offense and we wanted to get transition offense the whole night," said Flanagan.

The Rams also helped UNM's break with those turnovers. The Lobos had 15 steals.

"I thought (CSU) tired just a little bit," said Flanagan.

The Lobos ended up shooting 54.5 percent from behind the line. "I thought in the second half we shot the three within the framework of the offense," said Flanagan."

The Lobo bench scoring was inflated a bit since Beggin did not get the start. Still, there was solid help from the UNM subs. Senior Valerie Kast played a key defensive role in the second half when UNM pulled away from the Rams. "Val hung in there on defense and did a good job," said Flanagan.

Second Half - Lobos 36, Colorado State 18

The Lobos came out of the half down 32-29 and jumped to a 33-32 lead keyed by a Weissmann trey. CSU ran to 37-33 lead before a Lobo run fueled by Beggin and Weissmann treys pushed UNM back up 39-37. CSU called time.

A Kast 12-footer gave UNM a 50-45 lead and UNM began to pull away. A Jessica Kielpinski steal led to a Beggin layup and a 54-47 UNM lead. CSU missed and Taylor drove the lane for the Lobos, kicking the ball out to Best on the baseline. Best nailed it. The Lobos were up 57-47 and CSU called time at 5:17, down 10 points in The Pit.

A Beggin 18-footer gave UNM a 59-47 lead. The Rams were in a deep 12-point hole going into the final media timeout with 3:21 to play. CSU was shooting 23.8 percent from the field at that mark.

The Lobos continued to pull away. A Sara Halasz drive and short jumper made it 62-50. CSU's Meghan Heimstra committed her 10th turnover and CSU's 25th. UNM Weissmann pounded in another big nail with a 3-pointer that pushed UNM up 65-50. A close game had turned into a Pit romp.

First Half -- Colorado State 32, Lobos 29

At the 15:26 break, the Rams were up 9-7 on three 3-pointers. UNM had trouble guarding the Ram's outside and had a little trouble taking care of the ball with four turnovers. Best had five of UNM's seven points. Beggin came into the lineup after the break.

Beggin hit her first shot of the game, a trey to pull UNM to 11-10. At the 11:28 break, the teams were knotted at 13-all. Halasz tied the game for UNM on a drive plus one.

CSU came out of their huddle and ran to an 18-13 lead. Flanagan called a timeout. Nikki Nelson came out and hit a long trey to make it 18-16. Beggin went coast-to-coast off a CSU turnover and was fouled her drive. She made both free shots and the game was again tied, 18-all.

UNM went up 21-18 on a Lauren Taylor trey and CSU called time. At the 7:09 break, CSU was back up 22-21 off four points from Van Grinsven. At the 3:25 break, CSU was up 27-23 before pulling into the half with a 32-29 lead.