Nov. 25, 2008
Tuesday: Lobos 84, Utah Valley 70
Up Next: Lobos vs. William & Mary, 7 p.m., Friday, The Pit
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The inside threat that Lobos coach Don Flanagan was fretting about didn't turn out to be much of a threat. Flanagan threw senior Angela Hartill on Utah Valley's big gun, Robyn Fairbanks, and the senior Wolverine scored only 14 points out of her 27-point average as the Lobos rolled to an 84-70 win Tuesday night in The Pit.
But Flanagan wasn't too happy with another Wolverine, Julie McMurray, who went off on UNM for 25 points. Well, actually Flanagan might have been pleased on some coaching level because now Flanagan can work on one of his favorite aspects of basketball: defense.
"I don't think we can give up that many points and have a good season," Flanagan said, referring to Utah Valley's total. "We have to be able to cover people and if we can't cover people, we might have to defend them in a zone. I think the best thing we can do is mix it up a little bit."
The Lobos mixed in man-to-man and zone coverage against Utah Valley, but never separated Hartill much from Fairbanks, who scored only four points and played only six minutes in the first half.
"Angela did a nice job on her," said Flanagan, who saw his Lobos raise their season mark to 4-1. "That's a good defensive game."
Hartill might have gotten an A for defense, but Flanagan wasn't as pleased with the work done on the Utah Valley perimeter game. "I didn't like the shootout," said Flanagan.
The two-team shootout shifted into a game more comfortable for Flanagan after Utah Valley pulled to 51-49 with 11:09 to play. UNM outscored the Wolverines 33-to-21 from that point in. But still too many points allowed for the bad guys. "We could have upped our defense a little bit," said senior Amanda Adamson.
Said junior Amy Beggin: "That one girl had 25 points."
The Lobos countered with five players in double figures including Beggin and Hartill with 17 each. Adamson kicked in 12 points and Eileen Weissmann and Amanda Best had 11 points apiece. Beggin and Adamson each had nine rebounds and Beggin had six assists. UNM outrebounded Utah Valley 42-37 and the Wolverines had 20 turnovers to 12 for the Lobos.
UNM stretched its lead to 71-61 with 5:33 to play, aided by two Beggin treys. "Amy is money," said Flanagan. "She is somebody I can depend on. She is somebody who can hit the open shot."
The Lobos ended the game shooting 39.4 percent from the field: Not outstanding. A huge key for the Lobos came at the free-throw line where they went 23-of-30 compared to 10-of-14 for the Wolverines.
"We have to do a better job of being more selective," said Flanagan. "I do think eventually this team can shoot a little bit."
The Lobos led at halftime 35-31 and had stretched that lead to only five points, 44-39, with 15:39 to play. Utah Valley still was having trouble getting the ball inside to Fairbanks, but also didn't seem real passionate about getting it to her. The Lobos' offensive rhythm was off early, but improved in the game's final ten minutes.
"I thought once we calmed down a little bit, we got good shot selection," said Flanagan.
Said Beggin: "That's a good team we were playing. It was good for us to get back on track."
The Lobos next host the Holiday Inn and Suites Express Midtown Thanksgiving Tournament Friday and Saturday in The Pit. The Lobos play William & Mary at 7 p.m. Friday following the 5 p.m. tip between Nebraska and Butler. Saturday's consolation game tips at 5 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. tip for the title between the two winners on Friday.
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