Nov. 14, 2011
New Mexico Lobos Women's Basketball -- At North Texas
Monday: North Texas 63, Lobos 50
Saturday: 2 p.m. (MT), No. 15 Oklahoma at New Mexico Lobos
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
For a University of New Mexico Lobos team that found the heart of Texas cold in road losses at Texas Tech and at North Texas 63-50 Monday night, you can understand the Lobos eyeing The Pit as a return to Home Sweet Home.
However, it might not be that sweet at 2 p.m., Saturday when the No. 15 ranked Oklahoma Sooners step into The Pit expecting to slap Yvonne Sanchez's with their third straight loss in the young 2011-12 season.
The Lobos allowed North Texas to pull out of a slim 34-33 lead and into a fat 52-38 lead that the Mean Green massaged into a 63-50 victory Monday night in North Texas' Super Pit. The Lobos dropped to 0-2 on the season while North Texas jumped to 2-0.
"We go out there missing chippies (short shots)," said Sanchez. "We have to find a way to finish in contact and we have to take care of the ball.
"The second half was a game of runs and I was proud of the way our kids battled back. But we sent them to the line way too many times. Right there, you give them 28 points at the free-throw line."
The Mean Green used a 28-38 night at the line to help form their 13-point win. UNM made 10 free throws. The Green also forced UNM into 23 turnovers while giving up the ball only 11 times.
UNM's Caroline Durbin led the team in scoring for the second straight game with 11 points. Jayme Jackson had 10 points and Porche Torrance scored nine. The 6-foot Jasmine Godbolt muscled inside for 13 points for the Mean Green, 12 in the second half. Teammate Brittney Hudson added 12 points.
"It will be nice to go back and play in front of our fans. We get a lot of energy from them," said Sanchez. "It's always fun to bring a team like (Oklahoma) into The Pit. It's a treat for our fans because they want to see good competition.
"We're going to battle them and get creative and see what we can do."
If the Lobos have turnover woes against Oklahoma, it could get ugly. UNM had 30 turnovers in the Lobos 69-43 loss at Texas Tech.
The Sooners look willing to live up to their preseason hype as they opened the season with a 117-55 romp over Sacramento State, which won only four games last season. The Sooners' pressure forced 25 turnovers out of Sacramento State, 15 of them off Sooner steals.
Oklahoma got 28 points from Aaryn Ellenberg (a high school Parade/McDonalds All-American) and 18 points and 10 boards from Whitney Hand. Oklahoma led 69-38 at the half -- a program record for first-half points.
Sooner coach Sherri Coale has said this year's Sooners' team reminds her of the 2002 Oklahoma team that played in that year's national title game. Oklahoma, like UNM, has been hit by preseason injury as they lost two captains to knee injuries.
Second Half -- North Texas 41, Lobos 31
The Mean Green came out fired up. Their five straight points turned their 22-19 halftime bulge into a 27-19 North Texas lead that led to an Yvonne Sanchez timeout. The coach's talk helped. UNM cut the Mean Green's lead to 27-23 at the 15:42 break.
The Mean Green managed to guard their lead and were up 34-33 following a bank shot by UNM's Jayme Jackson. North Texas then went inside to the 6-foot Godbolt. She got back-to-back lay-ups plus a free throw to push her team up 39-33. UNM's Nikki Nelson hit a big three to cut that lead to 39-36.
At the 7:37 break, North Texas was up 42-38 with Ash'Lynne Evans coming out of the break shooting free throws. She made both shots to push North Texas up 44-38. The Green got two more charity shots to slide into a 46-38. A quick UNM turnover led to a 48-38 North Texas lead and the Green then pulled into a 52-38 lead.
UNM fought back into a 52-43 lead on five straight points, but the Lobos were now battling the clock as well as the Mean Green press. North Texas rolled in for the 63-50 win.
First Half -- North Texas 22, Lobos 19
The good news for the Lobos in the first half is they held the Mean Green to a single two-point field goal and 14 percent shooting from the floor. The bad news was the Lobos went into the break down by three points thanks to 12 UNM turnovers and 11 North Texas free throws.
The Lobos shot 36 percent from the floor with Durbin scoring six points. North Texas went 4-of-28 from the field, 3-of-8 from behind the line. The two teams each hauled down 22 boards. Ash'Lynne Evans had five boards and five points for the Mean Green.
UNM went up first, 2-0, but the Mean Green came back to go up 4-2 before Durbin hit a jumper to form a 4-all tie. Nelson hit Torrance on a break to give UNM a 6-4 lead at the 15:42 break. That was UNM's last lead of the half.
The mean Green went up 19-13 before UNM cut that gap in half to form the Lobos' 3-point hole at the break.