Feb. 16, 2013
New Mexico Women's Basketball - Mountain West - At Boise State
Saturday: New Mexico 66, at Boise State 58
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Maybe for Yvonne Sanchez`s Lobos this Pit thing is overrated.
The New Mexico Lobos on Saturday did what no other Lobo women's team has done. They beat Boise State 66-58 to post their fourth consecutive Mountain West road win.
"I can't put my finger on it," said Sanchez, whose Lobos have lost two straight in The Pit. "It says a lot about our team going on the road and finding ways to win. I credit my basketball team. They have done a heck of a job finding ways to win on the road."
The Lobos (13-11, 5-6 MW) did just about everything vs. Boise State (11-12, 3-7 MW) that a visiting basketball team needs to do to pull out a win on the enemy's floor.
They Lobos came out strong and confident in the first half and rolled to a 12-point halftime lead, 38-26.
They fought back the expected second-half rally by the home team, which scratched its way into 43-40 and 47-45 deficits.
The Lobos, not exactly deadeyes at the line this season, hit their free throws going 19-of-22 from the line. "That's what you want," said Sanchez.
UNM's leading scorer, Caroline Durbin, also had a huge game taming the Broncos' defense with 25 points. She went 7-of-11 from the floor and 9-of-9 from the free-throw line.
"Caroline played like Caroline plays," said Sanchez. "She is one of our best shooters and I'm going to run plays for her regardless of if she makes them. She came in here and stepped it up."
The Lobos also finished strong by making plays and making big baskets down the home stretch after the Broncos rallied to cut their gap to 47-45.
One of the biggest buckets by UNM down the stretch run was a 3-pointer by freshman point guard Bryce Owens that gave UNM some breathing room at 54-47 with 5:56 to play.
The Lobos got another big score at the 3:39 mark when Durbin hit a jumper to push UNM up 58-49. A basket by Deeva Vaughn at 2:00 probably sealed the win as UNM went up 60-51 win two minutes to kill.
The Broncos were unable to climb out of that hole.
"It's a good win for our kids," said Sanchez. "Boise made a run and hung around and I'm proud of our kids for finishing it off."
Durbin was joined in double figures by Antiesha Brown, who came off the bench to score 12 points. Jayme Jackson also hit some big buckets for UNM and scored seven. UNM's bench outscored Boise's bench 19-to-11.
"We did some really good things," said Sanchez. "I praised the play of Jayme all game. I thought she had a great game and gave us some energy. I thought Antiesha did the same thing. She is starting to play very, very well."
The Lobos shot 42 percent from the field and Boise shot 38 percent. UNM went 19-of-22 from the line and Boise State shot 15-of-16. UNM had an important edge in turnovers winning that stat line 17-to-22.
The Broncos got a solid game out of Lauren Lenhardt with 17 points and 11 boards and Rosalie Cutri had 16 points, seven boards, four assists and three steals. However, those two Broncos did not get much help on the scoreboard.
"There is no question in my mind she is a first team all-conference player," Sanchez said of Lenhardt. "The kid played her heart out. It's a tall task guarding her."
The Lobos went 5-of-13 from 3-point range while the Broncos went 3-of-14. Boise won the board battle, 35-27. Vaughn paced UNM with five boards.
The Lobo women and the Lobo men take Wednesday off and play the Colorado State teams next Saturday - the women in The Pit.
"It's a much-needed bye week for us," said Sanchez. "We are going to come back and try to give them a win against Colorado State. Our fans have stuck with us through thick and thin and they deserve to see a win."
The Lobos came out the aggressor in the first half as they would never trail in the game's first 20 minutes. New Mexico built an early five-point lead by the first media timeout and looked poised to blow the game open after a pair of Jayme Jackson steals on back-to-back possessions, but the Lobos were unable to convert either of those steals into points off turnovers.
Instead UNM got things rolling with a heavy dose of Caroline Durbin. Durbin scored 16 points in the first half, which included seven-straight points for the Cherry & Silver. She spearheaded an efficient half of basketball at the charity stripe for Coach Sanchez and company as well. She converted all seven of her free throws as the Lobos were a perfect nine of nine from the free throw line.
New Mexico's game plan was to limit MW leader Lauren Lenhardt's supporting cast. While Lenhardt scored eight points on 3-7 shooting, the rest of the Broncos were a combined 7-19 from the field (36.8%).
UNM's twelve-point halftime lead was their biggest since leading by 17 points at New Mexico State back on December 18, 2012.