March 8, 2011
Lobo Women's Basketball -- At the Mountain West Tournament -- Las Vegas
Tuesday: Lobos 65, San Diego State 57
Wednesday: 8 p.m., Lobos vs. No. 3 Wyoming
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By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer / Go Lobos.com
LAS VEGAS -- One down and three to go, but the path to a Mountain West Tournament title and the automatic berth to the NCAA tourney definitely goes through a lot of MWC talent -- No. 3 Wyoming, No. 2 TCU and likely No. 1 Brigham Young.
Obviously, it couldn't get any more difficult than the trio of MWC bullies that stand between the Lobos and the end of the 2011 season. Wyoming is a for-sure opponent and steps onto the Thomas & Mack Center to face UNM at 8 p.m., on Wednesday. TCU gets the winner at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.
BYU, the No. 1 seed and the regular-season champ, has to survive upset bids on the other side of the bracket in order to reach the title game at 2 p.m., Saturday.
The Lobos' first step was a 65-57 first-round win Tuesday night over a slumping San Diego State team. The Aztecs had beaten the Lobos twice during the regular season, but the third time was no charm for the poor-shooting Aztecs.
Also on Tuesday, the No. 9 seed Air Force Falcons beat No. 4 Colorado State, 66-63. Air Force advances to play No. 5 Utah which slipped past UNLV, 55-44.
"I thought Jasmine played a great game and Amanda has grown into a really good point guard," said Lobo coach Don Flanagan. "I thought we would sub people in, but I found a group I was confidence in. We got to a group of five or six and it seemed to work."
Jasmine Patterson scored 21 points for UNM and Amanda Best chipped in 19 points and 11 rebounds to produce a double-double. Jessica Kielpinski had 12 points and eight boards. Lauren Taylor came off the bench to score eight points. Porche Torrance had seven boards off the bench.
UNM shot 44 percent from the field, 3-of-9 from 3-point range and went 22-of-27 from the line. SDSU shot 35.7 percent and went 10-of-16 from the line. SDSU won the glass war, 35-31.
"Our kids never gave up. They believed," said Lobo assistant coach Yvonne Sanchez. "They have fire in their eyes and we packed for a week.
"Jaz had no clue what kind of game is being played. She's in the playground right now having fun. She has no fear. She is tremendous and has been a pleasant surprise."
Second Half: Lobos 38, San Diego State 34
The Lobos came out of the break up by four and extended their lead to 37-30 on a jumper by Patterson and went up 39-30 on a layup by Kielpinski. SDSU called a timeout with 10:20 to go, down by nine.
Patterson got two free throws off an intentional foul by the Aztecs and then scored on a jumper on the next play to put UNM up 43-33 with 7:23 to play. The Aztecs needed to throw out a charge or lose their fourth straight game.
The Aztecs threw out a short run and a 3-pointer by Coco Davis pulled SDSU to 43-39. Kielpinski hit a big jumper for UNM at the other end to stretch the Lobos' lead to 45-39. SDSU used the line and Paris Johnson's touch to pull into a four-point gap at 45-41 with 4:04 to go. At the 3:46 break, UNM was up 46-41.
The Lobos got a big drive and shot from Amanda Best to go up 48-41 with 2:59 to play. Patterson broke the Aztecs' press and was fouled with 2:25 to play. The quick freshmen made both and UNM extended its lead to 50-42. Lauren Taylor knocked down two free throws at the 2:02 mark and UNM coasted in for the first-round win.
"We were hitting free throws," said Flanagan. "They hit some treys late, but it didn't matter because we were hitting our free throws."
First Half: Lobos 27, San Diego State 23
Lobo Stat Leaders: Kielpinski 8 pts., Patterson 6 pts., Best 5 pts.
The Lobos stunned San Diego State with a 17-0 run that pulled the Lobos out of a 10-3 hole and into a 20-10 lead. Kielpinski got the run going with a 3-pointer and the 6-foot-2 senior finished the half with a team-high eight points.
The Aztecs broke UNM's run with a 6-0 spurt that pulled SDSU to 20-16 with 5:18 to play. Kielpinski snapped the Aztecs' run with her second trey of the half. The Lobos held on to that four-point lead to go into the half up 27-23.
The Lobos shot 40.7 percent from the floor in the first half, going 2-of-5 from long range. SDSU shot 33.3 percent, 2-of-8 from 3-point range. The Aztecs won the board battle 21-15, but had 12 turnovers to eight for the Lobos. UNM had five steals with Kielpinski leading that stat column with two steals.