By Chelsea Einerwold, Writer/GoLobos.com
The University of New Mexico women's basketball team was defeated by Brigham Young University in a Mountain West Conference matchup Saturday afternoon, 76-64, at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. The Lobos are now 7-12 overall and 1-6 in MWC action.
With the win, the Cougars snapped a six-game losing streak to the Lobos, as BYU hadn't beat New Mexico since 2006. The Cougars improved to 14-7 on the season and 6-1 in conference play.
New Mexico had a 4-2 lead early in the first half, but with 15:38 remaining in the first half a Jennifer Hamson jumper put the Cougars up 6-4 and they kept the lead from there. At the half it was 33-24 BYU.
The Lobos' Amanda Best got things going in the second half, hitting a jumper within the first 40 seconds of play. On the Cougars' next possession, Caroline Durbin stole the ball giving Porche Torrance a chance to hit a jumper in the paint, cutting BYU's lead to five points, 33-28.
With 13:41 remaining in regulation, the Lobos found themselves down, 48-36, following a 7-0 run by the Cougars. A Best jumper snapped the run and helped the Lobos to start to chip away at BYU's lead.
BYU didn't let the Lobos get any closer, however, as Jazmine Foreman quickly answered with a jumper on the other end. From there, the Cougars rode the performance of Coriann Fraughton who had 15 of her 17 points in the final 9:20.
"I'm not discouraged with this," Lobo head coach Don Flanagan said. "We never gave up and we cut it close late in the game, but then we just didn't convert on a couple things. We just have to move on and keep progressing and keep improving. This is a tough place to win. We take it as a loss that we can improve and we're seeing some progress."
The Lobos were led by freshman Jasmine Patterson with 18 points, nine of which came from 3-of-6 three-point shooting. Senior Amanda Best added 14 points and nine rebounds, and junior Porche Torrance contributed 12. Freshman Erin Boetcher pulled down six rebounds and chipped in two points.
"Jasmine is kind of amazing in that she gets a lot of her points on her own," said Flanagan. "One-on-one, she's a handful. She can shoot it and then she also has the athleticism to go with it. This was one of her better games."
New Mexico shot a season-high 50 percent from behind the arc, hitting 7-of-14 treys. The Lobos also had a season-high 41.1 shooting percentage, connecting on 25-of-56 from the field. As a team, New Mexico limited its turnovers to 11 and was able to dish out 13 assists.
But BYU had the hotter hand, connecting on 30-of-61 from the field for an exceptional 49.2 percent. Like the Lobos, the Cougars had 11 turnovers, but were able to tally 22 assists.
Rebounding again proved to be an X-factor in Saturday's game. BYU had 37 boards to New Mexico's 32. The Lobos are 0-9 on the season in games in which they did not come out ahead of their opponents in rebounds.
The Cougars had four players in double figures.
Senior forwards Mindy Bonham and Coriann Froughton led BYU at 17 points apiece, with Bonham dishing out 10 assists and Foughton grabbing nine rebounds.
In the frontcourt, Jennifer Hamson, the Cougars' 6-foot-7 freshman center, had 15 points and eight rebounds, while 6-3 junior forward Kristen Riley added 12 points for BYU.
"They've got a lot of weapons--a lot of kids, and the addition of a 6-7 freshman who can post-up and turn around and be accurate really makes them a good team," Flanagan said. "We've played TCU and we've played BYU and I think BYU really is the best team in the conference. Their experience at the guard sets them up."
After his team's win on Wednesday night over TCU and a hearty effort against a well-balanced BYU team on Saturday, Flanagan is feeling okay.
"I'd have to say this was a successful week," he said. "We're progressing, we're improving and that is always good at this time of the year. We've got to keep getting better and we've got to get some wins. We have nothing to lose, so let's go at it every game and keep getting better."
New Mexico returns to The Pit on Wednesday, Feb. 2 for its only game next week. The Lobos face Air Force at 7 p.m.