March 12, 2004
SEMIFINAL GAME NOTES
New Mexico is only the second team in MWC Championship history to appear in the title game in consecutive years. BYU is the only other team to accomplish the feat as the Cougars made the finals four straight times before this year's loss in the quarterfinals.
New Mexico is only the second No. 1 seed to advance to the MWC Tournament title game. The No. 1 seed has not been to the title game since 2000 when Utah captured the championship. New Mexico is 0-1 vs. UNLV in MWC Tournament play (lost in 2000 semifinals, 52-50). The Lobos have never played Utah in the MWC Tournament.
New Mexico scored on five of its first six possessions to take a 12-7 lead early in the game, but the Cowgirls rallied to knot the game at 15-15 with 10:27 remaining in the half. Five of UNM's first 15 points were scored after securing offensive rebounds.
New Mexico topped 30 points and led at the half in the prior two meetings vs. Wyoming. Today, the Cowgirls used a 12-3 run to erase a 21-15 deficit and take a 27-24 halftime lead. The Cowgirls scored the final eight points of the half.
Wyoming trailed at the half of every MWC Tournament game the past four years and lost those games (three losses to Colorado State, one loss to BYU). This year, Wyoming led at the break in both MWC Tournament games.
Wyoming's Kristen Lenhardt scored 14 first-half points vs. the Lobos, hitting 4-of-5 field goals, including 3-of-3 three-pointers. She finished the game with a team-high 19 points. In three meetings vs. the Lobos, Lenhardt averaged 17.6 ppg - but her season average was just 7.3 ppg.
UNM started the second half hitting just 1-of-9 from the field as the Cowgirls extended the lead to 33-27 early in the second half-their largest lead of the game. The Lobos were 2-of-18 from the field in a 13-minute stretch, allowing Wyoming to build a lead.
Wyoming was 1-of-11 from the field to start the second half, but maintained the lead by hitting 7-of-8 free throws through the first 11 minutes of the second stanza. New Mexico regained the lead, 38-37, on a basket by Lindsey Arndt with 7:07 remaining and never trailed again. Wyoming had held a lead for nearly 13 minutes prior to Arndt's basket. UNM held Wyoming to 3-of-21 shooting in the second half (14.3 percent), including 0-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Michelle Lieber recorded her sixth double-double of the year and second straight in the tournament with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Mandi Moore had a combined seven points and only one three-pointer vs. Wyoming in the prior two meetings, but tallied 11 points today, including 3-of-5 three-pointers.
Ashley Elliott notched double figures in scoring in five of the last seven games, including four games over 20 points. New Mexico is the only team to hold Elliot in single digits in the span, doing so twice.
#1 NEW MEXICO vs. #5 WYOMING