March 4, 2004
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Senior Melissa Forest scored 19 points and tied a career-high with 15 rebounds to lead New Mexico to a 58-39 victory over Wyoming in front of 11,096 fans at The Pit. Coupled with Utah's 68-60 overtime loss to UNLV, UNM moved into a tie with Utah for first place in the Mountain West Conference. The Lobos and Utes are both 11-2 in league play with one game remaining.
New Mexico, now 19-7 overall and winners of seven straight, can claim the No. 1 seed in next week's MWC Tournament in Denver with a win over Colorado State on Saturday afternoon. The Lobos would get the top seed after sweeping the season series from UNLV. Wyoming fell to 9-17 overall and 5-8 in league play.
New Mexico and Colorado State tip off Saturday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. from The Pit/Bob King Court.
Forest made 6 of 8 field goals and all seven of her free throws to come within one point of her career scoring high. She had 12 rebounds after halftime as UNM dominated the boards 46-29.
Leading just 35-31 at halftime, New Mexico limited the Cowgirls to only eight ponts in the second half, tying for the fewest by an opponent in one half this season. UNM held Tennessee State to eight points in the first half of an 89-18 victory on Dec. 5.
Wyoming, which shot 50% in the first half, missed 22 of its first 23 attempts in the second period and finished 3 of 29 from the floor after halftime.
The second half started slowly as each team scored only three points over the first nine minutes. Freshman Katie Montgomry started a 13-0 run as the Lobos increased their lead to 51-34.
The Cowgirls jumped out to a 15-8 lead by making six of their first seven shots. Down 28-25, New Mexico closed the first half with a 10-3 run to take a 35-31 lead at the break. The Lobos did not get their first lead of the game until the 2:50 mark of the first half on a 3-pointer by Abbie Letz.
Junior guard Mandi Moore had a season-high 11 assists to become the Lobos' career leader with 472, surpassing Tamika Stukes' four-year total of 469.
Lindsey Arndt added 12 points for New Mexico. The Cowgirls were led by forward Kristen Lendhardt's 20 points. Lendhardt made 8 of 14 from the field, the rest the team went 8 of 41.