Stevens: Lobos & The Pit Again Too Much For Aggies
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/07/2013

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Basketball – In The Pit

Saturday: New Mexico 65, New Mexico State 55

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.co

The status quo was protected.  The Pit is still a nasty place for the New Mexico State Aggies to come looking for a win over the New Mexico Lobos.

The Lobo women rolled out their 17th consecutive Pit victory over New Mexico State with a convincing 65-55 non-conference win Saturday night. .  The win was UNM’s 12th straight over the Aggies and the 34th out of the past 35 games.

“Our kids did a really, really nice job,” said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez.  “I’ll take it. I’ll take it all day long.”

The Lobos ran to a seven point halftime lead and held off an Aggie rally in the second half to even UNM’s record at 4-4.  NMSU fell to 3-6.  The Lobos will play the NMSU Aggies only one time this season and next play Dec. 16 at No. 4/6 Stanford.

“We have to be creative and we have to be careful,” said Sanchez of the upcoming trip to Stanford. “We’ll have a lot of time to prep for Stanford.  They are awfully good and they are awfully big.”

The Aggies last won a game in The Pit in 1995 and Sanchez’s Lobos planned to continue that streak by pounding the ball inside against the smaller Aggies.

“We wanted to get the ball inside and I thought we did a nice job getting it inside, but they had more points inside than us,” said Sanchez.

The Aggies’ inside buckets were scored on drives – a UNM Achilles Heel in several games this season.  The Aggies had 30 inside points to 28 points for the Lobos.  UNM had 12 second-chance points to two for NMSU.  The Lobos also dominated the boards 43-34, but gave up 16 turnovers to 11 for NMSU.

“We have to take care of the ball better,” said Sanchez.  “We want to get 12 or fewer turnovers.”

The Lobos were led in scoring by Antiesha Brown with 21 points.  “Tiesh has a monster game,” said Sanchez. “I expect a lot from her.”

Brown was joined in double figures by Sara Halasz and Khadijah Shumpert, each with 10 points.  Lobo Bryce Owens went 1-of-10 from the floor, but hauled down 10 rebounds and dished out three assists.  Kianna Keller had 10 boards, and three blocked shots.

“Kianna keeps getting better and better,” said Sanchez. “She is growing and growing and playing so much better. She did a nice job. I thought Bryce played hard and controlled the tempo for us. Khadijah is a heart kid.  She plays with a lot of heart.

“We had a great turnout in terms of fans.  They helped us and gave us energy.  We have unbelievable fans."

The Lobos had only nine assists and NMSU had only eight assists.   The Aggies got 11 points from Weber and 10 points from Offutt, who also added nine boards. The Lobos played without Deeva Vaughn, who was sitting out the game with concussion symptoms. 

The Aggies shot 33.3 percent from the floor and 21.1 percent (4-of-19) from 3-point range.  “Their bread and butter is to hit 3-point shots,” said Sanchez. 

The Aggies went 11-of-22 from the free-throw line and had 34 rebounds.  UNM ruled the glass with 43 rebounds and went 14-of-26 from the line.  UNM shot 45.3 from the floor and a hot 50 percent from 3-point range, but only shot six bombs, making three.

UNM shot 52 percent from the field in the first half in rolling to a 34-27 halftime lead.  The Lobos opened the first half guarding that seven-point lead and pushed that gap to 39-30 on a 3-point play by Shumpert -- a follow and a free throw.   At the 11:57 media break, UNM was up 46-37. 

The Aggies came out of their huddle and turned it over twice. UNM converted off the second miscue on a bucket inside by Keller. UNM was up 48-37 -- 11 points with 11:14 to go.  UNM’s Brea Mitchell got a steal and turned it into a Brown layup at 10:33.  UNM was up 52-37 and the Aggies wisely called time and pulled in for a team huddle.   NMSU was shooting 21 percent at that break. 

A jumper by Mitchell made it 54-38. That 16-point lead was key as NMSU cut that gap to 54-45 (9) with 8:00 to play. The Aggies pulled closer.  A 3-pointer at 7:13 by Abby Scott pulled NMSU to 54-48 and Coach Sanchez burned a timeout to have a discussion with her Lobos.

The Lobos came out of their huddle refocused.  Shumpert hit a jumper for UNM: 56-48. Brown knocked down two free throws at 5:36 and UNM was back up by double figures: 58-48. Keller went to the line and hit both to push UNM into a 12-point cushion at 60-48. 

The Lobos survived the NMSU rally and left The Pit with a 65-55 victory.