New Mexico Lobos Women’s Mountain West Basketball – At Utah State
Wednesday: Utah State 67, New Mexico 65
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The New Mexico’s trail of heartbreak on the Mountain West road continues.
The Lobos scratched into a 65-64 lead with 32 seconds to play, but two free throws by Utah State’s Jennifer Schlott with 1.1 seconds to play doomed UNM to a 67-65 loss.
“I really thought we had it. We had everything going our way,” said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez. “I thought something good was going to happen. We just fell short.”
The Lobos had a chance to go up by three in the closing seconds, but a missed trey by Brea Mitchell with 12 seconds to play led to Schlott racing down the court and being fouled by Bryce Owens as Schlott went up for a potential game-winning layup.
Instead, Schlott, who scored 33 points, won the game at the line.
“We had the ball and ran the play to perfection,” said Sanchez of Mitchell’s trey attempt. “Brea got a wide-open look and I don’t fault Brea at all. You get an open shot, I’m a believer that you take it. We had to foul (Schlott). It was a tough way to lose. We needed to sprint back (after Mitchell's miss)."
The loss dropped UNM to 9-17 on the year and 4-11 in Mountain West play. UNM will play host to Nevada Saturday in The Pit. The Lobos have lost nine of 11 and all nine losses have been by seven points or fewer. The Lobos led Utah State by 13 in the first half and eight points at halftime.
“It’s disappointing,” said Sanchez. “Our kids played hard. They played well.”
The Lobos got 18 points and nine boards from Antiesha Brown and 17 points and seven boards from Deeva Vaughn. Utah State got 21 points from Makenlee Williams. Schlott also had six assists. The Lobos had 41 rebounds (21 offensive) to 34 boards for Utah State.
“They went to work (on the boards),” said Sanchez. “They went in there and gave us second and third chances. We had a lot of people getting in there, but we have to make those bunny shots. We have to make layups.
“We had players who had wide-open shots and they have to start hitting them.”
The Lobos shot 35.8 percent from the floor to 48 percent for Utah State. UNM went 6-of-25 from long range but still outscored Utah State in the paint 24-to-18. UNM went 11-of-16 from the free-throw line and Utah State went 15-of-18 with Schlott going 7-of-7. UNM only sent three players to the line. Khadijah Shumpert went 5-of-10 from the stripe.
The win bumped Utah State to 12-15 and 6-10 in league play. Schlott and Williams combined for 54 points. Shumpert had nine points and six boards. Mitchell had eight points off the UNM bench.
Second Half: Utah State 39, New Mexico 29
The Aggies got a break at the 17:58 mark when UNM’s Shumpert went to bench with four fouls. Utah State slowly started scratching out of its eight-point halftime hole. UNM was up 40-38 at the 16:11 mark. The Aggies finally produced a tie at 44-all and pushed up 45-44 on the second of two free throws. A Schlott layup gave Utah State its biggest lead up to that point at 48-44.
The teams see-sawed the lead for a while. UNM went up 49-48. The Aggies went up 50-49. UNM went up 51-50. Utah State went up 53-51 and then 55-51 and 56-51.
The Lobos’ challenge at the end probably was going to be similar to what confronted them in their loss to Utah State in The Pit: stop Schlott, the MW’s single-season scoring leader. UNM lost Vaughn to fouls at 4:12 – fouling Schlott., who made two free throws to make it 58-53.
Brea Mitchell popped in a trey to beat the shot clock and pull the Lobos to 58-56. Schlott hit two more at the line: 60-56. Sara Halasz made a tough shot on a drive: 60-58. Schlott scored a runner: 62-58, but Shumpert and Brown scored to form a 62-all tie. UNM then grabbed the lead 63-62 on one free throw by Shumpert.
The Aggies went up 64-63 on a layup, but Brown pulled the lead back to UNM with free throws: 65-64. Nelson made one freebie for Utah State: 65-all with 24 ticks to go. Utah State called time after the single point.
The Lobos worked Mitchell off a screen and she got a good look at a trey, but it failed to drop. Schlott ended up racing down the court and was hacked by Owens as Schlott went up for a layup. The Aggie made her two free throws with 1.1 second on the clock and that finalized the 67-65 scoreboard.
First Half: New Mexico 36, Utah State 28
The Lobos got 11 points from Deeva Vaughn, eight from Antiesha Brown and ruled the boards 24-15 to roll into the half with an eight-point lead. The Lobos led almost the entire first 20 minutes, but had to break out of a 20-18 deficit to take control of the board down the stretch.
The Lobos led by as many as 13 points (36-23), before Utah State scored the final five points of the half. UNM had 14 offensive rebounds to three for the Aggies. Utah State had 14 turnovers and UNM had 10. Schlott had 17 points for the Aggies, but only two points in the final 7:51 of the half.
The Lobos got off to a strong start, ruled the glass 10-1 early and led 12-4 before taking a 12-6 lead into the first media break. The Aggies came back to form a 14-all tie, before UNM drifted into an 18-16 lead at 10:41.
The Aggies took their first lead at 20-18 behind Schlott’s scoring, but Brown brought the lead back to UNM with a trey: 21-20 at the 7:51 break. Schlott was 7-of-8 shooting with 15 points at that point.
UNM slowed down Schlott and again drifted ahead with 3-pointers from Owens and Vaughn helping UNM claim a 31-23 lead at the 3:35 break. UNM had a 20-12 rebounding edge at that stop and Vaughn had 11 points. UNM went up 36-23 before settling into its 36-28 lead.