March 12, 2008
The Mountain West Conference tournament usually means it's time for New Mexico to shine and this afternoon was no exception. The Lobos got 13 points apiece from Amy Beggin and Angela Hartill as they rolled to a 59-41 victory over BYU in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Phillips 66 Mountain West Conference Championship at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
New Mexico, the No. 4 seed, improves to 18-12 and has won a season-high four straight games. BYU ends its season at 13-16.
The Lobos advance to play surprising Colorado State in Friday's first semifinal at 1 p.m. Mountain Time. The Rams, 0-16 during the MWC regular season, stunned No. 1 seed and 13th-ranked Utah 60-52. The Utes were a perfect 16-0 in league play and came into today's game with a 22-game winning streak.
Friday's UNM-CSU game will be televised live on The Mtn. (Channel 276 on Comcast Cable in Albuquerque).
Beggin was 3 of 4 from 3-point, including one from the corner that provided UNM with a 33-17 lead at the break. The sophomore point guard added 3 assists and 3 steals in 38 minutes of action.
Senior Brandi Kimble had her usual solid floor game, recording 12 points, a game-high 7 rebounds, plus 3 assists and 3 steals.
The Lobos prevailed despite a quiet afternoon by senior Dionne Marsh. UNM's all-time leading scorer was held to 9 points on 2 of 6 shooting from the floor. Marsh, the two-time MWC Tournament MVP, picked up two fouls in the first half when she was limited to three points in 12 minutes.
One constant for New Mexico was its defense. The Lobos held BYU to just 24% (5-21) shooting in the first half and 33% (16-48) for the game. UNM also scored 35 points following the 25 turnovers committed by the Cougars.
Leading 8-6 in the early going, Beggin, Kimble and Geronika Jackson each nailed a 3-pointer during a decisive 13-2 burst to give UNM a 21-8 advantage. The lead never fell below double digits the rest of the game.
New Mexico shot 48% (13-27) in the first half and 43% (21-49) for the game. UNM was efficient from long range, making 7 of 15 3-pointers. That's the most 3s since draining 11 at Utah on Jan. 23.
The Lobos won for just the second time in 14 games this season when scoring less than 60 points. The other win was 55-45 last month at BYU.
Winners of the MWC Tournament four of the past five years, New Mexico is now 13-1 in the conference tourney since 2003.