Stevens: Sanchez's Lobos Hold Off Lady Rebs 65-58
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/19/2014

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

Wednesday:  New Mexico 65, UNLV 58

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

The Lobos took to The Pit court Wednesday night looking to find a spark of anger to help push them past the UNLV Lady Rebels.

The Lobos found something better: a finish.

The Lobos also found something in the second half that they didn’t have in the first half: Antiesha Brown’s shooting touch. The talented Lobo junior fired up in the second half to score 16 of her team-high 18 points.

UNM rallied from a 30-27 halftime deficit, took control of the scoreboard in the second half and fought off the UNLV Lady Rebels to post the 65-58 Mountain West win.

Wednesday night's victory came in UNM's annual "Pink Game" to raise breast cancer awareness. The team's jerseys from the game were auctioned off with the proceeds going to the UNM Cancer Center. Gift baskets were also sold to support the Kay Yow Foundation. The jerseys raised $3,175 dollars while another $2,319.50 was raised for the "Play 4 Kay" Foundation to bring it to a total of $5,494.50 raised for the two organizations.

“It was just an all-around, all-around great night,” said Lobo coach Yvonne Sanchez. “I’m proud of our kids that we finished it off at the end.

“I told them something good is going to happen, if you keep working hard. That’s what happened tonight. We continued to play hard and battled and closed out a tough game.”

There were a number of big plays in the closing seconds, but the biggest was Brown stealing a Lady Rebel pass and racing for a layup that gave UNM a 62-56 lead with 53 seconds to play.

The Lady Rebels had a few chances to make it interesting down the stretch as UNM missed 4 of 5 free throws from the 53-second mark to the 13-second mark, but UNLV only came up with one more field goal.

The win snapped a four-game losing skid on The Pit floor and prevented the Lady Rebels from posting their fifth consecutive win on the Bob King Floor. The win bumped UNM to 9-15 on the year and 4-9 in Mountain West play.

The Lobos got 18 points from Brown, and Khadijah Shumpert added 14 points and 13 boards.

“Khadijah is playing at an all-conference level and so is Antiesha,” said Sanchez.

Bryce Owens had eight points, five boards and six assists. Brea Mitchell came off the bench to score nine points, and Alexa Chavez had five points and six boards off the bench.

UNLV got 20 points from Danielle Miller. UNLV went 5-of-8 from the line and UNM went 10-of-22.

The Lobo win was a combination of good offense and good defense in the second half.  UNM shot 48.3 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes and held the Lady Rebels to 31.4 percent overall and 11.1 percent (1-of-9) from long range. The Lady Rebs scored only 28 points in the second half.

“It has to go to our defense to hold down a high-powered offense like UNLV,” said Sanchez.  “UNLV is a very good team to hold to 28 points in a half.”

The Lobos also had a huge edge on the boards, 47-to-33, to help overcome 24 turnovers.  UNLV had 17 turnovers.

UNM won the paint battle, scoring 34 points inside to 24 for UNLV.

The Lobos needed a good start in the second half to crawl out of a small 30-27 halftime hole. The Lobos got it, racing to a 38-32 lead.  The Rebels came back to cut the UNM lead to 42-41 going into the 11:29 media stop.

UNM came out of the break to go up 48-42 at the 10:05 mark.  At the 8:00 media break, UNM was up 52-48 before UNLV forced a 52-all tie. The Lobos got a big jumper from Brown at the 5:16 mark that put UNM up 56-52 and she added one at the line: 57-52.

UNLV’s Alana Cesarz did the same thing at the other end with the old-fashion 3-point play: 57-55. That score carried into the 3:28 time out.  The Lobos got a transition bucket off an Owens-to-Chavez pass and layup: 59-55. Brown’s steal and layup handed UNM its 62-56 lead that the Lobos rode to the win.

“I’m proud of my team and they need to enjoy this,” said Sanchez.

First Half:  UNLV 30, New Mexico 27

The first half was an up-and-down affair with the Lobos going up by as many as four points and the Lady Rebels going up by as many as five points. There were seven lead changes in the half. Both teams had trouble holding on to the ball with UNM committing 15 turnovers and UNLV losing the ball 12 times. UNLV had 10 steals and the Lobos had nine steals.

The Lobos held their last lead of the half at 24-23 off a Brooke Allemand trey at 3:42.  UNLV slipped into a 30-25 lead, but Chavez scored inside to form the 30-27 halftime count.

UNLV’s Miller was the only player to slip into double figures in the half with 10 points off her 5-of-8 shooting.  The Lobos were led by Mitchell off the bench with six points going 2-of-3 from 3-point range.  Brown, UNM’s leading scorer, only took two shots in the half and finished with two points.

UNM shot 39.3 percent from the floor to 46.7 percent for the Lady Rebels.  UNM had 20 boards to 15 for the visitors from Las Vegas.  Shumpert led all players on the glass with six first-half rebounds.