Jan. 7, 2009
Wednesday: Lobos 75, UNLV 49
Up Next: Lobos at Air Force, 2 p.m., Saturday
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
If you aren't going to run your offense, if you aren't going to make your shots, if you are going to be a tad selfish, the New Mexico Lobos found the perfect time to get away with all that stuff -- after you are up by 26 points.
"I was disappointed in the second half," said Lobos coach Don Flanagan, who said too many Lobos took the court with the attitude, "'When I get in, I'm shooting my shot.' I think that's what happened."
The second half Wednesday in The Pit surely won't make any of Flanagan highlight reels on how to run an offense and how to make shots. Fortunately, the 12-2 Lobos also had a trophy-case half of hoops in their 75-49 Mountain West Conference romp over the UNLV Rebels.
The Lobos and the Rebs played to a 27-27 tie in the second half. UNM shot 26.5 percent from the floor. "We just lost focus," said Flanagan. "It was painful for me to watch the second half."
The Lobos romped on the Rebs 48-22 in the first half. UNM shot 54.3 percent.
"Everyone was kind of looking for their own shot," said UNM's Eileen Weissmann, who joined Amy Beggin as the Lobos' top scorer with 13 points. "We were up by such a lead that I don't think we came out and played like we should have. We didn't perform like we should have but we'll be working on that in practice."
Said Flanagan: "Good first half, average second half."
Well, maybe a bit below average. UNM went 9-of-34 in shooting and 1-of-12 (8.3 percent) from behind the line. UNM also got double figures from Amanda Adamson, who had ten points. It was a good game for Flanagan to go to his bench as all 11 Lobos scored and all 11 players got into double figures in minutes played from 34 for Beggin to 11 minutes for Valerie Kast.
A key for UNM going into the game was to double team UNLV's Shamela Hampton in the post. The UNLV center had 14 points and 11 rebounds, but also had 12 turnovers. "I think she was getting really frustrated," said Weissmann, who did a good job doubling down on Hampton thoughout the game.
This game was clearly won by UNM in the first half. The Lobos ran to that 48-22 bulge by slowing pulling away from the Rebels: 11-4, 17-6, 26-8 and 30-10 on a drive by Nikki Nelson. Nelson and Weissmann made it even worse with back-to-back treys that pushed UNM up 40-12.
The Rebs shot 34.5 percent in the first half to UNM's 54.3 percent. UNM knocked in eight treys to a single bomb for UNLV. The Lobos bench outscored UNLV's subs 17-to-5 in the first half. The Rebs got 10 points from Hampton in the first 20 minutes.
The Lobos look to go 2-0 in MWC play with a Saturday game at Air Force. The Falcons lost 79-28 Wednesday night at San Diego State. That's 51 points!
"On the road, you probably won't come out and shoot like we did today," said Flanagan. "Everybody plays harder at home and you have to match their (Air Force) intensity. You have to make sure you are going to play with the same effort that they play at."
The Rebs' effort in the first half was fine, but the Rebs were undisciplined on defense and in their shot selection. Often they threw the ball at the hole rather than shot it. UNLV finished the game shooting 33.3 percent. They did outrebound UNM 47-to-39. Weissmann led UNM with seven rebounds followed by Adamson with six.
"I thought Eileen Weissmann had a good game," said Flanagan, who also said he was pleased to be able to go deep into his bench. "I think that is going to be important later on. We can go to a lot of different people. If I can (use the bench), that helps as we move down the line."
The Rebs played UNM even in the second half, but that wasn't good enough for them to claw out of their 26-point halftime hole. UNM led 58-34 with 11:22 to play and that was with the Lobos shooting 3-of-19 at that point, 15.8 percent. The Rebs weren't much better at that point, shooting 3-of-12 for 25 percent.
The Lobos warmed up a bit after that. Georonika Jackson drove into a crowd and threw in a shot to make it 64-36 in favor of UNM. A 14-foot set shot by Kast followed by a sweet post move by Adamson shot UNM into a 71-39 lead. The Lobos coasted to the 75-49 final.
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 articles are available at The Richard Stevens Corner.