Stevens: Sanchez's Lobos Fall 62-57 to CSU Rams
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/25/2014

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Mountain West Basketball – In The Pit

Saturday: Colorado State 62, New Mexico 57  

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

For sure, the game created exactly what Lobo Sara Halasz said it created: “One of those heartbreaker feelings.

“Things like this happen,” said Halasz. “There is no point in pouting about it.”

Still, this one hurt. The Lobos appeared to be on their way to an upset over the Mountain West-leading Colorado State Rams as UNM carried a seven-point lead into the final 5:30 Saturday night in The Pit.

 However, the Rams decided not to roll over and scratched back for the 62-57 MW win. It was CSU's first win in The Pit over UNM since January of 1998.

“Colorado State played poised, calm, under control,” said Halasz.

Said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez: “This is tough.  How many times are you going to say you are close to beating the No. 1 team?  It doesn’t mean a thing until you start beating them.  Close doesn’t get it. I could not care less about being close. In order for us to get any respect in conference, we have to beat teams.”

The loss dropped UNM to 7-11 overall and 2-5 in league play.  The win gave CSU a regular-season sweep over UNM and bumped the Ram to 14-4 and 6-1 in the Mountain West race.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” said UNM’s Antiesha Brown. “Tonight is going to be hard, but all you can do is gather what you can gather from these losses and keep moving forward.  There is no point in pouting.”

New Mexico was up 52-45 before CSU got a trey and a layup to cut the Rams’ gap to 52-50. UNM lead 57-54 with 2:00 to play, but never scored again. The Rams took a 59-57 lead with 38 seconds to play on a 3-pointer in the corner from Gritt Ryder.  UNM went for the win off a step-back Bryce Owens’ trey that missed. The Rams mopped up the win at the line.

Sanchez said the 3-pointer by CSU followed by the layup by Sam Martin was a huge point in the Rams’ rally. “We gave up five points in transition, a three and a two,” she said. “That hurt us.”

Said Halasz: “We have to come out with more of a sense of urgency on defense.”

Those five Ram points not only tightened the scoreboard, but created a shift in momentum. CSU outscored UNM 17-to-5 down the stretch.

The Lobos got 14 points from Khadijah Shumpert and 11 from Deeva Vaughn, who went 7-of-8 from the line. Halasz had 14 boards and five assists, but went 1-of-12 from the floor.  “It was just one of those days where not much was falling my way,” said Halasz. “I tried to focus on other things and help my team in other ways.”

Brown went 2-of-10 from the field and UNM shot 3-of-19 from 3-point range.  UNM shot 25 percent in the second half after shooting 39.3 percent in the first half. The Lobos shot 31.3 percent for the game and CSU shot 44 percent.

CSU’s AJ Newton burned UNM for 24 points and is the Ram who hit the trey in transition that sparked CSU’s rally. Ryder finished with 15 points, 10 boards, three assists and no turnovers. Newton had 13 points in the first half.

“We knew what she could do,” said UNM’s Brown of Newton. “We had to make some adjustments, but we were slow to shut her down in the first half.”

Said Coach Sanchez: “There shouldn’t be any surprise (over Newton). We’d seen it and we’d prepared for it. She is tough to guard when she gets to the basket.

“We tightened up, I guess.  We got good shots. They just didn’t go in. I thought we took good shots in our offense. They just didn’t’ hit them.  I want Sara and Tiesh (Brown) and those kids to take those shots every time. Right now, we are struggling to fine people to score.”

Second Half:  Colorado State 32, New Mexico 30

Newton, who had 13 points in the first half, continued to hurt the Lobos early with buckets and with penetration. Still, CSU could not shake the Lobos and at the 11:42 break an Owens’ three had UNM in a 42-42 tie. Newton had 20 points at that mark. At the 10:14 mark, the score was still in a knot: 44-44.

The Lobos’ used a Shumpert bank shot to go up 46-44. It was UNM’s first lead since 1-0.  Vaughn gave UNM a 48-44 lead at the line.  Brown and Owens worked a give-and-go fast break into a Brown layup and UNM’s 50-44 lead convinced CSU to burn at timeout at the 9:00 mark. The score stayed there at the 7:51 break. Newton had not added to her 20-point total.

Vaughn hits two free throws to put UNM up by seven, 52-45, but Newton got loose for a trey and Martin scored underneath to make it 52-50. UNM called time at 4:26. Shumpert had 12 points at that stop and Halasz had 13 boards.

Brown put UNM up 53-50 at the line, but CSU got a layup from Ryder: 53-52.  Halasz missed on a drive and CSU took the lead at 54-53.  Shumpert got it back off the glass inside: 55-54. CSU missed on a drive and Vaughn went back to the line to shoot two: 57-54. CSU pulled to 57-56 at 1:19 using the line.

UNM’s Owens missed a jumper and CSU got the board, quickly calling timeout with 49.9 to play. Newton came down and penetrated, kicking off to Ryder on the baseline.  Her wide-open trey pushed CSU up 59-57. UNM called time at 38.7, down two points.

“That three at the end was a big-time missed adjustment and we know better,” said Sanchez. “But you can’t blame one play. We had a number of opportunities to win this one.”

UNM went for the trey with Owens.  She missed and CSU got the board and Newton went to the line with 24.2 to play.  She put CSU up 60-57.  UNM got two treys off at the end by Brown and Vaughn, but they were short and CSU’s Ryder cleaned up the win at the line 62-57.

First Half: Colorado State 30, New Mexico 27

The Rams had the lead most of the first half, but could never pull away.  UNM went into the halftime break down 30-27 shooting 39.3 percent to 41.4 percent for CSU.  The Rams got 13 points from AJ Newton, who went 3-of-3 from 3-point range.

The Lobos had nine players scoring in the half with nobody scoring more than four points. CSU went 1-of-7 from the line and UNM went 3-of-8. CSU had three turnovers and UNM had four.