New Mexico Lobos Women’s Mountain West Basketball – In The Pit
Saturday: Nevada 60, New Mexico 55
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Once again, the final seconds of a Mountain West basketball game became a déjà vu experience for Yvonne Sanchez’s Lobos. Once again, the experience was one the Lobos did not want to see repeated.
The Lobos lost their eighth straight league game by seven points or fewer – this time 60-55 to Nevada Saturday afternoon in The Pit. It was UNM's 11th loss in the past 13 games and even UNM's two wins have been decided by seven and three points. The Lobos have been playing them close. Their past ten games have been decided by seven points or fewer.
“It’s the same song and dance. We let it slip away from our fingers,” said Sanchez. “I wrote down in our pre-game talk that we had to finish. We didn’t finish. It’s tough. It’s just really tough.
"It's a nightmare, just like with Utah State I thought we had this. I thought there was no way that we were going to lose it, there was no way that this was going to happen."
It was yet another heartbreaker of a finish for Sanchez’s Lobos as they scratched out of a 52-45 hole and into leads of 53-52 and 55-54 before allowing the Wolf Pack to score the final six points of the half
“We’re at home and we shot 36 percent (36.8) and they shoot 46 percent (45.8) in our house,” said Sanchez. “Twenty turnovers is not going to win basketball games especially against a team that doesn’t press. I think that's one of the biggest reasons that we lost. If we have 10 turnovers, which we should have, we probably would have won by five or six points.
“We got sloppy in our passing. We shot 56 percent (9-of-16 from the free throw line. That doesn’t cut it."
The Wolf Pack took control of the scoreboard twice in the final minutes. The visitors from Nevada went up 43-35, but the Lobos scratched back into a 43-43 tie.
Nevada then drifted up 52-45, but UNM came back to go up 53-52 taking the lead on a single free throw by Deeva Vaughn with 1:32 to play. The Lobos got a big trey in that rally from Brea Mitchell.
Nevada went up 54-53 but then let Sara Halasz slip into a hole under the basket and the UNM senior banked in a bunny to put the Lobos up 55-54 with 50 seconds to play. UNM did not score again.
UNM called time after Halasz’s bucket and came out in a full-court press. Nevada got behind the press sending Wideman deep. Wideman hauled in the long pass and was fouled on her drive by Bryce Owens. Wideman made her two free shots and Nevada was up 56-55.
"We have a press to keep them in front and a kid got behind Bryce Owens and we fouled her and we didn't score after that," said Coach Sanchez. "We had to finish this and we just didn't."
UNM went for a long shot and Mitchell missed with 26 seconds to play. Wideman was quickly fouled and used the line to push Nevada into a 58-55 lead.
UNM tried to work its way around the Nevada perimeter defense and into an open trey, but ended up throwing the ball into the Lobo bench on a long, cross-court pass. Wideman was fouled with two seconds to play and hit two more free shots to form the 60-55 final.
The Lobos got 17 points from Brown and 11 points and eight boards from Khadijah Shumpert. Halasz scored 11 points and Vaughn had nine boards, but only three points. Owens had three points and Mitchell had five points off the bench. UNM went 4-of-15 from 3-point range.
“That’s too many threes,” said Sanchez. “We’re not a 3-point shooting team.”
Nevada got 14 points from Terilyn Moe and had nine players score. The Wolf Pack went 15-of-23 from the line and 1-of-7 from 3-point range. UNM won the board battle 36-to-31 and both teams had 20 turnovers. UNM had 15 turnovers from Shumpert (5), Vaughn (4), Owens (3) and Brown (3). Nevada shot 65.2 percent in the second half to 36.4 percent for the Lobos.
The Lobos opened the game with a 5-0 lead and went into halftime with a 24-21 lead.
Nevada outscored UNM in the paint 36-to-26. UNM had 22 points off turnovers to 12 for Nevada. The Wolf Pack had 23 bench points to 10 for the Lobos.
The loss dropped UNM to 4-12 in Mountain West play and 9-18 overall. Nevada is 11-5 in league and 16-11 on the season.
"It's just frustrating coming here in the locker room and saying the same thing over and over again," said Sanchez. "You just run out of things to say: 'We didn't finish. We didn't get the job done.' That's pretty much the bottom line."