Nov. 30, 2005
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Guard Katie Montgomery and her New Mexico teammates watched the film of their 30-point loss to Minnesota last season and were certain they could beat the Gophers in a rematch.
They were right.
Montgomery hit four 3-pointers and scored 16 points and No. 21 New Mexico's swarming defense shut down No. 10 Minnesota in a 62-44 win Wednesday night.
"Tonight we showed that we can play with the top teams," Montgomery said.
Actually, New Mexico had already done that with a 76-68 road win over then No. 12 Texas last month. The win against Minnesota, which went to the Final Four two years and to the round of 16 last season, is another benchmark in what's turning out to be a special season for the Lobos (6-1)
New Mexico, which lost 75-45 to the Golden Gophers last year in Minneapolis, took control with an 18-5 run late in the first half. The Lobos were a step quicker at both ends of the floor, but especially on defense, as New Mexico either forced the Golden Gophers (4-1) into low percentage shots from 3-point range or turnovers.
"They came out on fire," Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. "It was 17-17 ... and they went on a run and we never recovered. We had a lack of poise and a lack of composure on offense."
Minnesota came into the game averaging 79 points, but hit just 4 of 20 3-pointers and shot 28.3 percent. The 44 points is the fewest since an 86-43 loss to Wisconsin on Feb. 22, 2001. The Golden Gophers also had 17 turnovers.
New Mexico moved into the Top 25 with the win at Texas and the No. 21 ranking is the highest in school history.
Montgomery hit two 3-pointers to lead the first-half run that gave the Lobos a 27-17 lead with 3:40 left. The scoring burst got the partisan season-high Pit crowd of 11,413 roaring and put the Golden Gophers on their heels for the rest of the game.
Lauren Lacey led Minnesota with 12 points, but the Golden Gophers had their normally high-scoring inside game stymied by New Mexico's combination of a man and zone trap defense. Natasha Williams was held to three points, 13 below her average and Liz Podominick, averaging 10.3 points, went scoreless.
"They did a lot of trapping down in the post, but we expected that," Borton said. "We've got some young post players that haven't had a lot of playing time other than (Jamie) Broback inside. That's the next step those kids have to take, to get better with double and triple teams on them."
Minnesota's frontline rotation of Williams, Lacey, Podominick and Broback came into the game averaging just over 50 points. The four combined for 22 against New Mexico, with most of Lacey's points coming after New Mexico's lead had grown to 20 points.
New Mexico had a 38-37 edge in rebounding, but for most of the game limited the taller Minnesota front line to one shot.
"We played some awesome defense tonight," said center Jana Francis, who scored 13 points and hit two 3-pointers. "We all came together."
Dionne Marsh added 10 points for New Mexico.
The Lobos' win over a Minnesota team that went to the Final Four two years ago and to the round of 16 last season is the school's biggest since it beat No. 9 ranked Utah in 1998.