Feb. 23, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico Lobos were looking to make a statement and snap their four-game home losing streak in The Pit Saturday evening. New Mexico did just that thanks to their 71-56 victory over Colorado State in front of 6,705 fans. UNM won behind a balanced team effort and lock-down defense in the second half. The team also lifted a weight off their shoulders by ending their home losing streak.
"Our kids felt the pressure a little bit. They were very well prepared by our staff. They had great workouts before the Colorado State game because we had a bye week. They were really focused, and I think they are starting to come together as a team. They are starting to learn each other, and we have four games left. You want to peak now. It feels really good to win the way we did here against a very good Colorado State team. That team handed it to UNLV last week. It is a very good team. We feel fortunate, and it was a good game by everybody," said Head Coach Yvonne Sanchez.
Coach Sanchez and company had three double-digit scorers, which included a team-high 16 points from Antiesha Brown off the bench. The sophomore was the leader of a bench effort that outscored the Rams' bench 34-11.
"We outscored them from the bench 34 to 11. Colorado State is low in numbers, and they are like us last year. With our bench scoring more, we have to take advantage of that... I thought the players that went in off the bench did great. Jordyn Peacock came in at the end and got two quick rebounds. Everybody wants to go in to contribute and I think they did a tremendous job," Sanchez observed in the post-game press conference.
The Lobos matched their season high of nine made field goals as the team shot 9-22 (40.9%) from beyond the arc, which included a blistering 8-13 (61.5%) in the first half. Four Lobos converted the team's nine made three-point field goals with Brown and Caroline Durbin each making three.
Durbin (13 points) and Deeva Vaughn (elven points) were the other two Lobos to score ten or more points. Sara Halasz matched her career high with six assists as Bryce Owens also picked up five assists. It was another strong night for Owens in the stat sheet as the freshman point guard finished with nine rebounds and five assists to just one turnover.
Colorado State's freshman point guard counterpart, Caitlin Duffy, led the Rams in scoring with 17 points. Sam Martin would finish with twelve points with half of them coming from the free throw line.
The blistering shooting in the first half would not carry over into the second half. The slower pace saw the New Mexico defense open the half with a defensive run. The Lobos defense held the Rams to just one made field goal in the first seven minutes of play in the half. Colorado State kept things close with free throws during that time.
New Mexico edged their lead to their first double-digit advantage with a Jayme Jackson jumper. It was part of a run that continued to the tune of an 11-2 run over two and a half minutes that saw UNM push its lead up to fifteen points. The Cherry & Silver controlled the game from that point on. New Mexico led by ten or more points for the final twelve minutes of the game.
It was UNM's defense that reigned supreme in the second half. Colorado State shot 44.0% from the field (66.7% from three-point range) in the first half, but they shot 26.1% from the field in the second half. That included 20.0% from beyond the arc. The defensive effort was highlighted by the containment of CSU's leading scorer, Sam Martin, in the second half. After scoring six points in the first half, Martin went 0-6 from the field while converting six free throws.
The first half between the Rams and the Lobos was as exciting of a half of basketball as UNM had played all season. The first 20 minutes of action saw six lead changes and five ties as both sides caught fire from beyond the arc.
New Mexico pushed its lead to as many as seven points before hitting a dry spell. Caroline Durbin's three-pointer with 7:47 left in the first half ended a scoreless span of over three and a half minutes.
It was a sign of things to come as New Mexico finished the half shooting 8-13 (61.5%) from long range, which was a season high for a half.
The hot shooting from three-point range was a trend for both teams as they combined to shoot 14-22 (63.6%). A pair of three-pointers from the Lobos in the final minute gave them their 35-29 halftime lead. Caroline Durbin led all players with eleven first-half points with nine of those coming from beyond the arc.