March 8, 2006
DENVER (AP) - UNLV put a quick end to No. 21 New Mexico's hopes of a fourth straight Mountain West Conference tournament title with a 57-45 upset of the Lobos on Wednesday.
Sherry McCracklin scored 15 points, Sheena Moore had 12 and Sequoia Holmes and Nikki Hitchens each added 10 for the Rebels, who closed the game on a 15-1 run.
The sixth-seeded Rebels (18-10) will face No. 19 Utah (22-6), the tournament's second seed, in the semifinals Friday.
The Rebels went 9:24 without a basket in the second half but unlike the Lobos, got to the line, where they hit all six of their free throws, four by McCracklin, during the drought to keep the Lobos at bay.
McCracklin, who also grabbed 12 boards, was 7-of-7 from the stripe. Overall, UNLV was 9-of-12 from the foul line and the Lobos finished just 2-of-4.
Moore snapped the Rebels out of their shooting funk with a basket that gave UNLV a 42-41 lead with 6:07 left.
Katie Montgomery hit an NBA-range 3-pointer to restore New Mexico's lead to 44-42 with 5:43 left, but it was all downhill for the Lobos after that.
Holmes scored, then stripped Montgomery for an easy layup that gave the Rebels the lead for good at 46-44.
Marsh, who had taken a seat at the 8-minute mark after picking up her third and fourth fouls on close calls 35 seconds apart, quickly turned the ball over after re-entering the game.
Moore then spun to the basket for a field goal and was fouled by Marsh with 3:44 left. Moore missed the bonus, but teammate Kameca Simmons got the basket on the rebound for a 50-44 lead.
Jana Francis pulled New Mexico to 50-45 with a free throw but the Lobos couldn't get the handle on a rebound after that and the Rebels went on a 7-0 run over the final 90 seconds to end the Lobos' three-year reign.