Nov. 20, 2012
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New Mexico Lobos Women's Basketball - In The Pit
Tuesday New Mexico Lobos 60, New Mexico State 37
New Mexico Lobos Thanksgiving Tournament -- In The Pit
Friday: 5:30 p.m. - Lobos vs. North Texas; 3:30 p.m. -- Georgia vs. Saint Bonaventure
Saturday: 5 p.m. - Consolation Game; 7 p.m. - Championship
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The challenge to remain undefeated wasn't really much of a challenge for Yvonne Sanchez's Lobos in The Pit Tuesday night when Aggies came to visit.
The Lobos upped their defensive intensity and the New Mexico State shooting touch didn't seem to make it past Socorro. That lost touch definitely didn't show up in the second half.
"State didn't shoot well," said Sanchez in an understatement. The Aggies shot 12.5 percent in the second half and UNM rolled to the 60-37 romp and its fourth win of the season.
However, there could be a challenge Saturday in The Pit, if UNM and No. 9 ranked Georgia happen to meet in the finals of the New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament.
You don't claw your way into the Top Ten by shooting bricks.
"We can't back down," said UNM's freshman point guard Bryce Owens looking ahead to this weekend's tournament. "I feel we can beat anybody, if we play our game. It doesn't matter what name it is, if we go out and play our game."
Owens pretty much played her game Tuesday in The Pit. She weaved through the NMSU defense and 10 times found Lobos for baskets. Her 10 assists marked the first time a UNM player reached double digits in assists since the 2003-04 season.
"Bryce was pretty good," said Sanchez. "Lefty point guards are the best - 10 assists and only three turnovers is pretty good.
"I think Caroline (Durbin) likes the fact that she doesn't have to score 20, 25 points for this team to win."
The Aggies shot 12.5 percent in the second half (4-32) and went 0-of-18 from 3-point range in the game. NMSU shot 21.9 percent (14-of-64) over the 40 minutes. UNM shot 46.2 for the game. UNM was 2-of-8 from 3-point range. NMSU won the board battle by one, 44-43.
The Lobos broke out of a tight 27-22 halftime score and held NMSU to 15 second-half points while putting up 33 in the final 20 minutes.
"We made sure we contested shots," said Sanchez. "Then they rushed their shots. "We had a hand in their face every time."
Durbin said the Lobos at half said, `This is our rival. We need to come out and play hard." She also said, "We tried to cut down on silly fouls. I know it didn't seem like we did, but we tried."
UNM's Halasz and Durbin lost some court time in the first half due to picking up two fouls. Durbin ran into an Aggie past the 3-point line and picked up another foul on an ill-advised reach on a rebound.
The Aggies had 17 offensive boards to six for the Lobos.
"When they were one-and-done, that really helped us," said Durbin. "It's great (to beat them). Since I've been here, we haven't lost to them and I'm trying to keep that alive."
The win was UNM's tenth consecutive over NMSU. The Lobos have won 28 of 29.
"It wasn't as big as I thought it would be," Owens said of the Lobo-Aggie battle. "I thought it would be more physical, maybe some 'bos (elbows) thrown.
"We needed to slow down on offense and just really play our game. We didn't play our game in the first half. We rushed a lot of shots."
Said Sanchez: "We're a work in progress. We're going to get it together and put an entire game together."
A good time for that might be Saturday night in The Pit at 7 p.m. - especially if Lobos happen to play Georgia.
Second Half: New Mexico 33, New Mexico State 15
This didn't look like a game the Lobos could lose. Based on the first half, the Lobos' key to victory was simple enough: take better care of the ball, quit making silly fouls, run some offense, and rebound the Aggie bricks.
UNM did some of that stuff in running to a 38-26 lead at the 15:44 mark. A Durbin trey made it 42-28. At the 11:52 break, UNM was up 42-30. The Lobos extended their lead to 48-30 on an Erskine bucket inside. At the 7:09 break, UNM was up 50-32. NMSU was 0-of-12 from long range at that mark and shooting 15 percent (3-of-20) in the half. They were 25 percent for the game - 13-of-52.
The Lobos pretty much cruised in for the 60-37 win.
First Half: New Mexico 27, New Mexico State 22
The Lobos shot well in the first half at 48 percent (13-of-27), but damaged themselves with some unforced turnovers and too many unnecessary fouls. The Aggies shot 31.3 percent but an offense that had trouble scoring out of set plays did come up with a number of hustle baskets.
UNM had 11 fouls at the half to six by NMSU. Halasz and Durbin spend some time on the Lobo bench nursing two fouls. Both teams had 12 turnovers. Durbin led UNM with six points, match by Jayme Jackson. Stefanie Gilbreath and Danesia Williamson had eight apiece for the Aggies, totaling 16 of NMSU's 22 halftime points. The Lobos had some second-half targets.
The Lobos got buckets from Halasz, Vaughn, Durbin and Erskine to take an 8-4 lead into the first media break at 14:21. UNM came out of that huddle and got buckets from Durbin and Whitney Johnson to go up 12-4. NMSU burned a timeout.
At the 11:58 break, it was still 12-4 in UNM's favor. NMSU was shooting 18.2 percent at that point, in part because of UNM's defense, in part because of Aggie shooting. They needed to find a hot hand.
They finally found one in Gilbreath. The Aggies also were aided on the board by some bad Lobo turnovers. Gilbreath scored eight down the stretch to pull NMSU to 25-20. The teams settled for a 27-22 count at the half.