STEVENS: Lobos beat Northern Colorado 81-59 in WNIT
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/13/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 13, 2009

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Friday: Lobos 81, Northern Colorado 59
Up Next: Florida Gulf Coast at Lobos, 2 p.m. Sunday, The Pit
Online: GameTracker, stats, game story on GoLobos.com

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

The Lobos said they were looking for quality opponents in the WNIT, but didn't necessarily say they were looking for marquee names. The Lobos rolled Northern Colorado 81-59 Friday night in The Pit and advance to a 2 p.m. tip on Sunday with the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.

Yep, that Florida Gulf Coast. The one that surely was pulling for Northern Colorado so the Eagles wouldn't have to venture all the way from Fort Myers, Fla., to New Mexico.

If the Bears had bite the Lobos in The Pit on Friday, the Gulf Coast Eagles would have hosted the Bears. Instead, it's get on a plane and come to The Pit. Florida Gulf Coast might be a no-name in the world of college hoops, but the Eagles have UNM's full attention.

"We have some tape on Florida and they are quite a good team," said Lobo coach Don Flanagan. "We are pretty impressed with their team. They look to me to be a team that is an NCAA team. They'll come in with a lot of confidence and a lot of experience."

The Lobos didn't have much trouble Friday night with the smaller Northern Colorado Bears. The Gulf Coast Eagles ripped UTEP 66-54 in Fort Myers. The Eagles jumped up 21-4 and 32-8 before holding on to a 36-17 halftime lead.

The Lobos didn't put the Bears away quite so quickly, but still ran to a decisive 22- point win in The Pit. The Lobos carried a 36-21 lead into the midway break. UNM continued to drift ahead in the second half. A Valerie Kast push shot inside, plus a foul and a make, pushed UNM up 66-44. The Bears called a timeout, down 22 in The Pit. The Lobos continued to cruise to their 81-59 win. UNM is 1-0 on the season.

UNM was paced by senior Amy Beggin with 16 points and Kast added 13. Lauren Taylor reached double figures with 12 and Jessica Kielpinski scored 11. UNM shot 42.6 from the floor to 31 percent for the Colorado Bears. "I got everybody in and we won by 22," said Flanagan. "That makes me happy."

The Bears never mounted a second-half run against the Lobos. The UTEP Miners did put the chase on Florida Gulf Coast and cut that lead to six points. The Eagles used a 14-2 run to go back up 53-35.

The Florida win did give the Lobos a few Eagles to target. Gulf Coast's Chelsea Lyles led all scorers with 19 points and Shannon Murphy added 15 as the Eagles advanced to the WNIT's second round.

The Lobos outscored the Bears by 15 in the first half, but that gap was seven in the second half. "I was disappointed in the second half. Didn't block out," said Flanagan. "We just have to get a lot better on defense. We're scoring 80 points, but we're giving up too many points."

Said Kielpinski: "There are a lot of things we really need to work on on defense."

First Half

There was a lot of bad shooting early from both teams. Finally, UNM's Jessica Kielpinski went to the line at 17:17 to produce a 2-1 UNM lead. The first field goal of the night came off Kielpinski's fingertips, too. She took a pass from Beggin and rolled in a layup to form a 4-1 UNM lead.

At the first media break at 14:49, the teams were tied 6-all. Lobo Eileen Weissmann was subbed in and hit a 3-pointer to hand UNM a 9-6 lead. The Lobos formed a six-point bulge at 14-8 off a Beggin jumper followed by a Beggin layup. The Bears called a timeout. Beggin then banged in a 3-pointer to push the Lobos up 17-8.

The gap stayed at nine going into a break at 11:52. The smaller Bears were only down a rebound at that point, but had seven turnovers to UNM's two. The Lobos had taken 14 shots to eight for the Bears.

The Bears came back. Weissmann and Beggin missed shots, and the Bears tossed in a couple of jumpers to make it 17-15. Taylor lofted in a trey to push UNM back up 20-15. At the 7:49 break, UNM held a 22-17 lead. The Bears and the Lobos each had seven field goals at that mark, but UNM had two more treys and three more free throws.

Center Valerie Kast slipped UNM up 24-17 with a power move close to the rim. Taylor got loose on a transition bucket to make it 26-17. It stayed that way at the final media break at 3:58. Beggin had nine points at that break and Taylor had five. Kast came out of the break to toss in two short turnarounds and UNM jumped ahead 30-17. The Lobos turned that into a 15-point first half score of 36-21.

Beggin led UNM with 11 points and the Lobos got 12 points inside from Kielpinski and Kast with six points apiece. UNM shot 36.7 percent from the floor to 30.8 percent for the Bears in the first half.