Jan. 16, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Hot starts in both the first and second half - and 21 career-high points from junior guard Amanda Best - propelled the University of New Mexico women's basketball team to its second Mountain West Conference win, 74-61 over Wyoming Saturday afternoon at The Pit.
The Lobos, now 10-6 on the season and 2-2 in conference, wasted little time jumping out to a 10-0 lead, then essentially put the Cowgirls (11-5, 2-2) away with a 15-0 run early in the second half.
New Mexico was clinging to a 36-33 lead with just over 17 minutes left in the second half before Amy Beggin's 3-pointer sparked the game-changing run. Amanda Best would score the final six of the 15 points as the Lobos extended their lead to 18, 51-33, with 12:20 left.
Both teams would exchange buckets over the next five minutes, with New Mexico extending its lead to a game-high 20 once on a pair of free throws from Georonika Jackson with 5:53 left and again on a Sarah Halasz 3-pointer with 4:42 left.
"I'm pretty happy with the way we played today," New Mexico head coach Don Flanagan said. "We played pretty well in all three phases - offensively, defensively and in transition."
As to their shooting, Flanagan was impressed with the Lobos' turnaround after a rough second half in their last game at Utah.
"Our shooting was much improved, obviously," Flanagan said. "We shot over 50 percent from the three (point line)."
Best's previous career high was 18 points against New Mexico State on December 20. She was 7-13 from the field and 6-7 from the free-throw line. She also tied a career high against Wyoming with seven made field goals.
"We really came together as a team," said Best. "We felt like we had a lack of confidence on that last road trip. Tonight, a lot of people took it upon themselves to step up and hit shots."
Best led four Lobos to score in double figures with 21 points, followed by Beggin with 14, Halasz with 13 and post Jessica Kielpinski with 11. Beggin led New Mexico with seven rebounds, followed by Kielpinski with six, Porche Torrence and Best each had five, and Eileen Weissmann and Halasz with four apiece.
Kielpinski is developing into the inside force the Lobos had hoped she would develop into this season. Sore back and all after tweaking it against the Utes on Jan. 12, she now has scored 38 points and pulled down 29 rebounds in the last three games.
"Going into every game, I'm going to give it my all," Kielpinski said. "I'm not going to let anything bother me and I'm going to just play through it."
Emma Langford led the Cowgirls with 13 points, although 10 of those came in the first half. Jade Kennedy chipped in with 12 points, as did Kristen Scheffler and Hillary Carlson with 9.
New Mexico is in action next at home against Air Force on January 20.