March 10, 2007
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Tournament MVP Dionne Marsh scored 20 points and rescued New Mexico from a second-half collapse, leading the Lobos past Brigham Young 63-49 in the Mountain West women's championship Friday.
The Lobos (23-8) earned a sixth straight trip to the NCAA tournament with their fourth conference crown in five years, a run that began with a win over BYU in the 2003 title game.
Marsh stifled BYU center Dani Wright, who fouled out with five minutes to go after scoring five points on 2-of-10 shooting.
Marsh picked up her fourth foul with six minutes left but Wright missed the front end of the one-and-one, leaving the Lobos clinging to a 43-42 lead.
Wright was whistled for her fourth foul and Marsh sank both of her free throws for a 45-42 lead.
On the Lobos' next possession, the Cougars (23-9) fell apart.
Wright fouled out and Jennie Keele was whistled for a technical for saying something to the officials. Although Julie Briody (14 points) missed both technical foul shots, Marsh sank both of hers for a 47-42 lead with 5:14 remaining.
Mallary Gillespie, who led the Cougars with 17 points, sank a 3-pointer to make it a two-point game but Marsh scored nine more points with her nemesis on the bench as the Lobos closed out the game on a 14-2 run.
The Cougars have reached the title game six times in the tournament's eight-year history but won it just once, in 2002.
New Mexico jumped out to a 30-17 lead in the opening minutes of the second half before the Cougars charged back to make a game of it behind Gillespie, Shaw Slade, who scored 14, and Lauren Riley, who had 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Katie Montgomery added 13 points for the Lobos.