STEVENS: Hot-Shooting Lobos Smoke Wildcats 81-61
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/09/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 9, 2009

Box Score

Wednesday: Lobos 81, Arizona 61
Up Next: Loyola Marymount at Lobos, 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

It almost seemed like all the good shots that failed to fall for Don Flanagan's Lobos so far this season decided to show up and drop in for the Lobos Wednesday night at Arizona.

The Lobos were smoking, Lauren Taylor tossed in a career-high 22 points and the Lobos made the Wildcats pay, 81-61, in a non-conference game.

"I'd like to bring these baskets back to The Pit, the way we were shooting," said coach Flanagan. "That was our best game to date. This was even better than New Mexico State. It was an impressive game. I am really proud of our players."

The Lobos jumped to a 10-0 lead, a 40-30 halftime lead and continued to run their half-court offense like clockwork in running to the 20-point win that pushed UNM's mark to 6-3 on the season.

UNM also got 20 points from Amy Beggin, and while Jessica Kielpinski and Sara Halasz tossed in 10 points each. The Lobos did offensive damage from all points of the half court, but their 3-point shooting was deadly as they went 12-of-20 from behind the line. UNM was 54 percent from the floor.

"There were a couple of things we had to do to win the game," said Flanagan. "We had to play real strong inside and not give them second opportunities. We also had to get back (on defense) and take away their transition.

"We executed our offense extremely well and when you shoot like we shot, you're going to win a lot of games."

The Wildcats came out of the break down by 10 and needed to make a stronger commitment to defense in order to get back into this game. The Arizona pressure got UNM to commit three early turnovers and the Cats cut their 40-30 halftime deficit into a 40-33 gap.

But the Lobos really had no trouble finding open shots against Arizona and UNM continue its hot shooting.

Kielpinski scored inside to put the Lobos on the board at 42-33. At the first media timeout of the second half, UNM was up 44-35.

The Lobos drifted away to a 56-39 lead and Arizona called a timeout, trying to figure out some way to slow down the Lobos. The Cats needed to make a run and needed to slow down the hot-shooting Lobos.

One Lobo was not ready to cool down. Taylor hit back-to-back treys and UNM roared to a 62-42 lead. The Cats were running out of time.

The Wildcats went into a press down and cut UNM's lead to 64-49 on a trey. Amanda Best then hit a wide-open trey on the left side and Halasz scored a layupoff the baseline on a nice pass from Beggin to push UNM back up 69-49 - 20 points.

It didn't seem to matter which Lobo was tossing up the long shots this night in Arizona. Freshman Jourdan Erskine found herself wide open on the left side and banged in a trey: 72-49. Erskine had her best game to date as a Lobo with a career-high five points in 20 minutes.

Taylor then ran the middle for a layup to push UNM up by 25 points: 74-49. When Beggin rattled in a trey off the baseline that rolled out but kissed the backboard to fall in, UNM was up 77-49 and it was game over.

First Half -- Lobos 40, Arizona 30

The Lobos were looking for a good start fueled by good shooting and they got it. UNM ran to a quick 10-0 lead paced by 3-pointers from Taylor and Beggin. The half seesawed after UNM's threw out that run, but the Wildcats could never cut into that gap and walked into the locker room down 40-30.

Arizona's first basket was a treyby Jackson, which cut UNM's led to 10-3. The Lobos carried a 14-3 lead into the first media break at 15:16. At the 11:34 break, UNM was up 18-10. The Lobos got a big trey from Kast to push UNM up 21-12. Whyte and Jackson banged in back-to-back treys for Arizona to pull the Cats close at 21-18.

Arizona's offense was just fine, but the Cats' defense was more than lacking and UNM was taking advantage of this lack of discipline on that side of the court. UNM got back-to-back treys to go up 31-23 and outscored Arizona 9-to-7 the rest of the way to form the 40-30 halftime count.