Feb. 25, 2009
Wednesday: TCU 41, Lobos 38
Up Next: Lobos vs. CSU, 2 p.m. Saturday, The Pit
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
If a gutsy defense was all it took to win a road game at TCU, then the New Mexico Lobos would be flying high on their return trip from Fort Worth. Unfortunately, you have to make a few shots, too.
The Lobos staged a dramatic rally in the closing minutes and held the TCU Horned Frogs to 41 points on a 24.1 percent shooting night. But UNM could only score 38 points in dropping a heartbreaking and pivotal 41-38 Mountain West Conference game.
"I thought we played excellent defense, but we have to make some shot," said Lobo coach Don Flanagan. "You hold them to 41 points, they are averaging 71, so you hold them 30 points under their average and you are doing a great job on defense. But somebody has to put the ball in the basket."
The Horned Frogs threw a tough and active zone at the Lobos and UNM didn't do a great job attacking that zone or shooting over it. UNM went 5-of-23 from 3-point range and had 19 turnovers which led to 16 TCU points. The Lobos shot 28 percent from the floor.
TCU's Helena Sverrisdottir hit two free throws with 20 seconds to go to push the Frogs up 41-38, but UNM had a final shot to tie the game. Flanagan called a timeout with 16 seconds to play, but UNM's Eileen Weissmann turned the ball over on a charge with 13 seconds to go. Beggin forced a jump ball and UNM got possession with four seconds to go, but a desperation bomb by Beggin had no chance at the buzzer.
TCU went 4-of-16 from long range and had 13 turnovers, several key ones in the game's final minutes. The Frogs went 11-of-17 from the line and UNM went 5-of-8. The line made the difference on the scoreboard for TCU.
The Horned Frogs jumped to a 22-15 halftime lead and held off the Lobos in the second half behind an active zone defense that the Lobos never could master.
"I thought the first half we were really nervous. Nervous to shoot," said Flanagan. "Don't ask me why. I have no idea why. We're 20-something games into the season and we're afraid to shoot."
The loss dropped UNM to 18-8 on the year and 7-6 in MWC play. TCU pulled further ahead of UNM at 11-3 in league games and the Frogs bumped their overall mark to 19-8.
The Lobos got double figures from Beggin with 13 points and Angela Hartill with 10 points and eight boards. Amanda Best had 10 rebounds and Amanda Adamson had seven boards. Weissmann had nine points and nine boards.
Flanagan pointed out on his post-game radio show that after Beggin, Hartill and Weissmann, the UNM scoring totals for eight Lobos went four, two, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero and zero -- going 2-of-20 from the field. Flanagan got no points and one rebound off his bench.
TCU's offensive numbers were down, too. Micah Garoutte and Emily Carter scored 10 each, but Helen Sverrisdottir had nine points and TK LaFleur had five. Those two TCU stars combined to go 5-of-26 from the floor.
"You hold her (Sverrisdottir) to nine points and that's incredible," said Flanagan. "You have to win that game because she won't be under double figures the rest of the year. I think we should have scored 50 without a problem. They did a nice job on Amy and then we could never get it inside. We just didn't get her (Hartill) the ball enough."
TCU's seven-point (22-15) halftime lead was cut to a single point at 33-32 at a TCU timeout with 9:95 to play. The Lobos got baskets from Best, Adamson, Hartill and a 3-pointer from Beggin going into that break. At a media timeout at 7:50, it was still 33-32 in TCU's favor.
The Frogs biggest lead the rest of the way was five points: 37-32 with 5:22 to play and 39-34 with 2:40 to go. Beggin went to the line and dropped in two with 1:13 to play to make it 39-36. Beggin hit two more free shots at 1:03 to pull the Lobos to 39-38.
UNM's Halasz got a steal off the Lobo full-court press, but Beggin had a 3-pointer tipped with 48 seconds to go. The 6-foot-1 Sverrisdottir got the ball inside on Beggin and backed into the 5-6 Lobo and got the foul. Sverrisdottir hit both shots and TCU was up 41-38 with 19 seconds to play. The Lobos needed a trey.
The Lobos lost the chance on Weissmann's charge with 13 seconds to go.
"We've lost to all of the top teams and we've lost to all of them close," said Flanagan. "It's sad that we can play that well against the top teams and not beat them. This game would have been big because we would have swept them (TCU) and swept BYU and that would have put us in a great position.
"We just have to bounce back and get after it on Saturday because CSU is no joke."
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