Dec. 20, 2008
LAS CRUCES -- The University of New Mexico Lobos women used a 17-to-0 run in the second half to race from a 44-42 deficit and into a 59-44 lead and held off New Mexico State Saturday to raise the Lobos' season mark to 11-1 with a 78-64 win over the Aggies.
The Lobos were down 36-32 at the halftime in NMSU's Pan American Center, but used a combination of tenacious defense and solid offense to pull away from the Aggies early in the second half.
The Aggies went almost six minutes without scoring before Madison Spence hit two free throws to end UNM's 17-0 run. Spence's free throws made it 59-46, but by that time it was too late to catch the Lobos, who ended up shooting 51 percent for the game.
"That's as good a game as I've seen them (NMSU) play, even on tape," said Lobos coach Don Flanagan. "They play harder at home. They attack the basket harder at home."
"We shot 62 percent in the second half," said Flanagan. "You shoot 62 percent anytime, for any period of time, you're really doing well.
"I thought our motion (offense) was successful. Amanda Best driving the way she was driving, I've never seen her play like that, but in practice. I thought Amanda had her best game to date."
The Lobos 11-1 mark is the best start to a season in the program's history. The win also was UNM's 25th win in 26 games against NMSU. The win is the eighth straight for the Lobos.
The Aggies made a small run in the second half to cut UNM's lead to 63-50, but Beggin drove past two Aggies on the sideline, drove to the baseline and hit a jumper and was fouled. Beggin made the free throw and UNM was back up 66-50 and the Aggies seemed to fade.
"That was a big shot," said Flanagan. "I think Amy is one of the better point guards in the nation, never mind the Mountain West. She just does so many things for us. Amy is a special player and a special leader."
The Lobos did their usual good job at the line going 21-of-28. The Aggies, led by Spence with 20 points, went 13-of-21 from the line and shot 37 percent for the game. UNM also used the glass to produce this win, outrebounding NMSU 44-to-35. Amanda Adamson, Hartill and Best each had nine boards for the Lobos. UNM had 14 turnovers and NMSU had 12.
"I though our defense the second half was very good," said Flanagan. "Whatever they (NMSU) hit, they earned it. I'm real happy with this win. I'm really proud of this team. This is a game in which they could have been beaten. I thought New Mexico State played a very fine game. They got off to a 9-0 lead. We kept chipping away.
"We talked very quietly about what we needed to do the second half. It wasn't emotional. It wasn't screaming and hollering. They did a nice job the second half. It was a special game."