Feb. 28, 2009
Saturday: Lobos 78, Colorado State 56
Up Next: Lobos at Utah, 7 p.m., Wednesday
Radio: 610-AM KNML
Online: GameTracker on GoLobos.com
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
You have a feeling if coach Don Flanagan could take the line score his Lobos produced Saturday in The Pit and take it to Salt Lake City, Flanagan would gladly pay for the extra bag to put it in.
The line score in UNM's 78-56 breeze over Colorado State was exactly what Flanagan said he was looking for. That line might really come in handy Wednesday night at Utah.
Flanagan got the usual solid stats from Amy Beggin, who tossed in 14 points and added five assists and four steals. He got consistency from Angela Hartill, who had 10 points, eight boards and four assists.
But the committee thing Flanagan was looking for also stepped up against the Rams.
There were nine Lobos who scored four or more points which means seven Lobos combined to give Beggin and Hartill a little help in advancing the Lobo numbers on the board.
"The key is we got back scoring and we got a win," said Flanagan, who saw his Lobos jump their overall mark to 19-8 and advance their Mountain West Conference record to 8-6.
The Lobos shot 44.1 percent from the floor to 33.9 percent for the visitors from Fort Collins, Colo.
"We needed this one," said Flanagan. "We needed a momentum creator. CSU is hard to play because they play so hard and they set so many screens. That's hard to defend sometimes. I thought we did a decent job defending them."
The Rams are struggling this season at 9-19 and 4-11 in MWC games, but this is a team with depth, height, good outside shooting and decent quickness. If the Rams gain a little discipline on defense and quit taking bad shots, they actually have the talent to make some noise at the MWC tourney.
That's the Lobos' plan, too. UNM probably is a bubble team for NCAA consideration as an at-large team, so the automatic bid that goes to the winner of the MWC tourney is Vegas is an attractive carrot dangling in front of the Lobos.
A few quality wins in the MWC tourney would look good on the UNM resume, but the Lobos are looking at a quality win opportunity Wednesday - at Utah.
"Utah is going to be a tough battle, but it's always close up there," said Flanagan. "Utah is probably the most confident team in the league. We need to get a little bit of that confidence."
The win over CSU has to help. It was another Pit feel-good win simply because so many Lobos got to play. The Lobos scratched to a 34-26 halftime lead and just muscled away from the Rams in the second half.
"I like the fact we closed the door on them," said Flanagan.
UNM got back-to-back buckets from Eileen Weissmann and Beggin to go up 43-28. Adamson nailed a trey from the top of the key to push UNM up 46-30.
"I know I have to be aggressive. I tried to look to score every time I caught it," said Adamson.
To be down 16 in The Pit, is a pretty big hole, but the Rams kept playing hard and made enough shots to hang around.
The Rams cut that hole to 55-43 and 58-46 but both times Taylor made baskets to extend UNM's lead. A Taylor drive plus a free throw put UNM up 61-46 with 6:48 to play. Beggin got a layup off a Halasz steal to make it 63-46 - a 17-point UNM lead.
Kast came in at the 6:48 mark and made back-to-back, left-handed baskets followed by two free throws to hand UNM a 69-46 lead. Halasz arched in a long trey from the baseline to make it 72-48 and UNM cruised to the 78-56 final.
"She had good minutes for us," Flanagan said of Taylor.
Said Taylor, who went 2-of-4 from trey range after making only one trey in the past five games: "It was like, `Finally.' I was so happy," she said. "I had been frustrated. I just had to relax on my shot."
Said Adamson: "We all know we can shoot and play basketball. We have to build on this for the next game."
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous GoLobo.com articles can be found on The Richard Stevens Corner.