Stevens: Lobos Knocked Out of Vegas 67-39 by SDSU Aztecs
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/15/2013
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 15, 2013

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New Mexico Lobos Women's Basketball -At The Mountain West Tournament
Las Vegas, Nevada --Thomas & Mack Center (18,776)

Friday: San Diego State 67, New Mexico 39
Thursday: New Mexico 72, UNLV Lady Rebels 59; San Diego State 67, Nevada 39
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

You can't say this ending was a surprise. Sometimes that big, bad Goliath dodges the rocks from David's slingshots.

And sometimes the field goals don't hit their mark either.

"That's the bar and that's the standard until somebody knocks San Diego State off," said Sanchez of her Lobos' loss to SDSU. "I mean, I can't say it enough. They took us out of everything that we wanted to do. Their defense is terrific."

The dead end that teams ran into 16 times prior to New Mexico's clash with San Diego State in the Mountain West semifinals was not something the Lobos could avoid Friday afternoon in the Las Vegas Thomas & Mack. The Aztecs made it 17 straight.

The No. 1 seed Aztecs ran to a quick 12-0 lead and never looked back in slapping the Lobos out of the MW tourney 67-39.

"We wanted to come out early and set the tone, set the dynamics of this game." said SDSU's Chelsea Hopkins, who had a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Said UNM's Caroline Durbin: "They're really good at jumping on you early. I think they did the same thing against Nevada yesterday. They did it by getting out and running. They have everyone sprinting the floor as hard as they can. That's tough to guard. And they find each other really well."

It was the Aztecs 11th win over UNM in the past 13 meetings. SDSU has won five consecutive appearances in the MW semifinals -- 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

The Lobos shot 20.4 percent for the game with the UNM starters getting five field goals vs. the lanky and aggressive Aztecs. UNM was 11-of-54 from the field and 1-of-7 from 3-point range.

"Their defense is pretty phenomenal," said Durbin.

Deeva Vaughn led the Lobo starters with two field goals and five points. UNM's starting five went 5-of-32 from the floor. Khadijah Shumpert came off the bench to pace UNM in scoring with eight points. Antiesha Brown scored seven off the bench.

"We're certainly guarding," said SDSU Coach Beth Burns. "I think the Lobos are very talented. We showed some signs of fatigue (today)."

Said UNM's Sanchez: "Her team is exceptional. They show you what championship teams do. That's a very good team. We had to play our best. They took us out of a lot of what we wanted to do."

The Aztecs were never really challenged on the scoreboard after racing to a 21-5 lead, but the Lobos did increase their intensity the rest of the way in. UNM's biggest problem was shooting. With seven minutes to play, UNM was down 52-29 and shooting 18 percent from the floor.

UNM had only six assists to 13 for SDSU. The Aztecs also got double figures from Courtney Clements with 15 points and Malia Nahinu with 10 points. Hopkins also had five assists.

"New Mexico is an aggressive team and I knew they would come at me," said Hopkins, who had 14 assists in the quarterfinals. "I wanted to be aggressive."

The Aztecs march on to play the winner of the other MW semifinal between No. 2 seed Fresno State and No. 3 seed Wyoming. The MW champ grabs the NCAA automatic bid.

"I can't fathom that San Diego State isn't in (the NCAA) right now regardless of what happens tomorrow night (in MW title game)," said Sanchez.

First Half: San Diego State 29, New Mexico Lobos 13

The Aztecs put the pedal to the metal early rolling to a 12-0 lead going into the first media break at 15:10. UNM was 0-of-7 from the field going into that huddle. At the next break at 11:22, the Lobos had matched SDSU 4-4 on the board, but still were down by a dozen, 16-4.

"They're notorious for doing that," Sanchez said of the Aztezs jumping on UNM early. "They jumped on us right away. We were tentative on offense. We backed down a little bit, were on our heels.

"When we got on our heels a little bit, then they started their transition. We know they were capable of it. We wanted to prevent it early and we didn't."

The Aztecs pushed to a 21-5 lead aiding by good defense and poor UNM shooting. UNM was 2-of-17 from the field at that mark. The Lobos used a 6-0 lead to cut SDSU's lead to 23-2. UNM got buckets from Erskine, Brown and Jackson.

At the final media break at 2:20, the Aztecs were up 26-12. UNM had five field goals and was shooting 18 percent. SDSU took a 16-point lead into the locker room.