Feb. 4, 2009
Wednesday: Wyoming 52, Lobos 50
Up Next: Lobos at UNLV, Saturday, Las Vegas
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
For a few teasing moments, it looked like the New Mexico Lobos were about to do to the Wyoming Cowgirls what the Utah Utes did to the Lobos this past Sunday in The Pit.
Steal a road win with a few huge plays and huge shots in the closing seconds.
Then the Lobos failed to execute a simple, fundamental rule of basketball: block out the weak-side rebound.
The Cowgirls brought the ball in with 19 seconds to play, got a tough shot off by guard Randi Richardson with about three seconds to play that spun off the rim -- and was promptly put back in by Wyoming's Hillary Carlson to hand the Lobos a crushing 52-50 Mountain West Conference loss.
"Somebody didn't block out. There was nobody even on her," said Lobo coach Don Flanagan, who saw his Lobos drop to 16-5 overall and 5-3 in league play. "She (Richardson) missed that shot and then we don't block out.
"I thought we had the game in hand at halftime. We were dictating what was going on. We were making them go to a zone and then all of a sudden nobody can score."
It definitely was a game of two halves for both Lobos and Cowgirls. UNM made 12-of-25 shots in the first half and 6-of-25 in the second half. UNM led 28-16 at the break and led 32-22 at the 13:09 mark of the second half. UNM was outscored 30-18 the rest of the way in.
"We stopped running our offense," said Flanagan, whose Lobos play Saturday at UNLV. "We started standing around and nobody was setting screens. I got my post player (Angela Hartill) in foul trouble right from the beginning. A bunch of my players didn't compete. I'm very unhappy with them."
The Lobos were led by Beggin with 12 points. Halasz, a freshman, scored nine off the bench. Eileen Weissmann had eight rebounds. The Lobos were hurt by 18 turnovers that led to 16 Wyoming points. UNM also was damaged by Hartill only playing 14 minutes. The UNM senior had five fouls, two points, three turnovers and two rebounds.
"We let that game get away from us," said Flanagan. "We let them have that game." The UNM coach also said that in the post-game talk with his players, "I got after them a little bit."
Wyoming was led by Carlson with 16 points and Emma Langford with 12 points. The teams played even on the boards at 35-35. UNM ended shooting 18-of-50 from the floor and Wyoming shot 18-of-49.
The Lobos opened the game going 11-of-20 from the field and got seven points from Amanda Best and five from Georonika Jackson to take a 26-12 lead. The Cowgirls were 4-of-20 from the floor at that mark. UNM's Lauren Taylor hit a short jumper to form the 28-16 halftime score. UNM scored two points in the final 6:11 of the first half.
The Lobos' start in the second half suggested they might get into trouble. UNM opened with four turnovers and no shots which helped Wyoming cut UNM's lead to 28-22. The Lobos went more than five minutes before Adamson broke the scoring drought with two free throws to make it 30-22 at 14:21. UNM's Weissmann scored on a power drive with her left hand to push the Lobos up 32-22 and it appeared UNM had settled down.
That wasn`t the case.
The Lobos helped Wyoming again with two consecutive turnovers that led to Cowgirl buckets and at 11:01 the Lobos led 33-27. The Cowgirls continued to make shots while the Lobos continued to sputter and when Kristen Scheffler threw up a trey trying to beat the clock and made it, the game was tied 33-all with 9:48 to play.
UNM's Weissmann got bumped in the paint at 9:05 and hit two free throws to raise UNM back into the lead at 35-33. Wyoming's Emma Langford went to the line on an Amanda Adamson foul and the Cowgirl made the second free throw to make it 35-34. Wyoming's Hillary Carlson scored inside with her left hand to give Wyoming its first lead of the game at 36-35 at the 6:56 mark.
The Lobos then had a stretch where they could have separated themselves from Wyoming, but Jessica Kielpinski and Adamson missed the front ends of one-and-ones. Halasz had two free throws sandwiched inside those Lobo misses and UNM was up 37-36.
The Lobos' Hartill then had two turnovers sandwiched around a 3-pointer by Wyoming's Langford that put Wyoming up 39-37. The second Hartill turnover was an offensive foul that placed the 6-3 senior on the bench with five fouls with 4:32 to play.
Wyoming went up 43-38 on two free throws by Langford at 2:41. That basket followed another UNM turnover. Beggin drove for a layup to cut Wyoming's lead to 43-40, but Langford answered with a jumper to nudge the Cowgirls back up 45-40 with 1:55 to play.
UNM's Halasz scored a layup off a Weissmann assist to pull the Lobos to 46-43, but Richardson answered back with a press-breaking layup with 55 seconds to go and Wyoming was up 48-43. Halasz then scored on another layup, Wyoming had a turnover and Beggin banged in a jumper to make it 48-47 with 30 seconds to play.
Wyoming's Carlson was fouled by Weissmann with 27 seconds to play. The Cowgirl made both shots and Wyoming was up 50-47 and a defensive stop away from its first MWC home win of the season. The stop didn't come as Beggin hit a long trey to tie the game at 50-all with 19 seconds to play.
The game ended with Carlson putting in the garbage shot after Richardson's miss: 52-50. The Lobos brought the ball in with .03 to play but failed to get off a shot.
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous articles are available at The Richard Stevens Corner