Feb. 2, 2013
RENO, Nev. - The University of New Mexico Lobos found some grit in their second Mountain West road victory as they defeated Nevada (6-14, 1-6 MW) 69-66 on Saturday evening. New Mexico (11-9, 3-4 MW) erased a nine-point lead in the second half in a game that featured five lead changes and a tie in the final handful of minutes.
"I thought our kids showed a lot of fight tonight. They got down nine points in the second half, but they never gave up. Caroline (Durbin) and Sara (Halasz) led us in scoring, but there were plenty of others who helped us win by doing the things that don't come up in the box score," commented Head Coach Yvonne Sanchez.
Durbin did lead a quartet of double-digit scorers. The Texan scored a game-high 17 points, which ended a streak of four-consecutive games in single-digit scoring. She was supported by Sara Halasz who scored 15 points (eleven in the second half) with six rebounds. Rounding out the double-digit scorers were Whitney Johnson with eleven points and Khadijah Shumpert with ten points. For Shumpert, Saturday evening marked her first game of ten or more points since scoring 13 points in the season opener versus Northern Arizona.
While the Lobos did give up more points than their season average, they did slow down the Wolfpacks' top two scorers. Danika Sharp and Chanelle Brennan were both in the top ten in the conference in scoring coming into the night. They averaged a combined 27.5 points per game coming into the game, but they were limited to just 17 points on 7-24 (29.2%) shooting from the field.
"It's never easy to win on the road in this conference, and Nevada with Coach Albright is no different. She does a great job with that program and her kids played so hard tonight," Sanchez noted.
For the second time in as many weeks, New Mexico freshman point guard flirted with a triple-double. She finished the evening with eight points, six rebounds and eight assists. The Lobos also got a career-high five blocks from Deeva Vaughn.
The second half began with alternating 6-0 runs from both teams. UNM's 6-0 run was answered by the home team with a 12-3 run in 2:47.
Down 46-37 with 13:08 remaining in the game, New Mexico got back into the game courtesy of a 19-8 run in 5:14. With the 56-55 lead with 5:57 remaining, the game would see six lead changes and one tie in the remainder of the game.
Nevada would reclaim the lead and push it to as many as five points before the see-saw began to alternate in favor of both teams.
UNM took the 62-61 lead on a Whitney Johnson post bucket that was pushed to three points with a left-handed floater from Owens. Nevada's Danika Sharp would convert a four-point play to give the Wolfpack the 65-64 lead with 1:07 left.
The Lobos came out on top to open the game as they led for the game's first fifteen minutes. Their scoring depth made an early appearance as a different Lobo scored the team's first four made field goals. Bryce Owens would score or assist on five of the team's first six made baskets.
New Mexico opened the game converting on five of their first nine shots, but they cooled off making only four of their next twelve shots. It was during that cooling off period that Nevada would take their first lead of the game with a Danika Sharp jumper with 4:32 remaining in the half. The two teams went into the halftime break tied at 28 points apiece, which marked the first time UNM has been tied with their opponent at half time this season. The two teams were tied despite UNM leading for over 18 minutes in the first half.
It was the starting lineup for the Lobos that carried the scoring load as they accounted for 24 of the team's 28 points (85.7%) of the scoring. Coach Sanchez and company were led by Caroline Durbin with eleven points.