Stevens: Lobos Drop 75-73 Heart breaker at Nevada
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/15/2014

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Basketball – at Nevada

Saturday: Nevada 75, New Mexico 73

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

Reno, Nev. --  Another heartbreaker.

The New Mexico Lobos shot themselves into a 40-31 halftime lead, but could not stall a furious Nevada rally as the Wolf Pack snagged the lead in the final seconds and held on for a dramatic 75-73 Mountain West win.

“It’s heartbreaking.  I hurt for our team,” said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez. “They need a break.  They need something to happen good.” 

The Lobos were up 71-69 and tied at 73-all before Nevada used the free-throw line to take a 75-73 lead with 21 seconds to play.

The Lobos had a chance to push the game into overtime, but Antiesha Brown’s 15-foot jumper bounced off in the closing seconds Nevada gobbled up the loose ball -- and the win.

“Tiesh had a good last shot,” said Sanchez. “She took a good shot. It takes a lot of guts to take the last shot of a game.”

The ending was a barnburner leading up to heart break.  Nevada formed a 67-67 tie that UNM’s Khadijah Shumpert broke with a layup: 69-67.  Nevada formed a 69-all tie that Brown broke with a jumper: 71-69.   The Wolf Pack then went up 73-71, but Brown pulled the Lobos into a 73-all tie.

A key play down the stretch was New Mexico’s Deeva Vaughn being called for a blocking out foul while boxing out after a missed Nevada trey that sent Nevada’s Nyasha Lesure to the line with 21 ticks to go.  She made both shots and Nevada was up 75-73 leading up to Brown’s final shot.

“You decide the game on two free throws,” said Sanchez. “They are calling a lot of fouls on us and we are not getting that end of the stick.  The last foul was just a loose ball.  They shoot 30 free throws and we shoot 19.

“I don’t’ get on officiating.  I know they are trying to get it right, but it seems we are getting called for a lot of things. I want a break for these kids.  They are good kids and I think they are getting shortchanged a little bit.”

UNM went 12-of-19 from the free-throw line and Nevada went 24-of-30 to outscore UNM by 12 points from that stripe.  Nevada was 14-of-15 from the line in the second half.

The loss dropped UNM to 8-15 overall and 3-9 in the Mountain West.  The Lobos have lost eight of their past nine games – all eight by 10 points or fewer.

“We have to keep fighting and we will,” said Sanchez. “There is no quit in our team.  I thought everyone who went in played very well.”

The Lobos shot 50 percent for the game and won the glass battle 39-to-38.   UNM had 15 turnovers and Nevada had six. The Wolf Pack shot 36 percent from the floor.  The Lobos shot 68 percent from the field in the first half, but only 34.4 percent in the second 20 minutes. Nevada shot 42.4 percent in the second half.

“We took good shots in the second half. They just didn’t fall,” said Sanchez. “But our kids fought. They played hard.  But when you are on the road and you have a team (down), you have to keep them (down).”

 Brown led UNM is scoring with 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting.  Shumpert added 15 points and eight boards. Vaughn had 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

“We shot well,” said Sanchez of the first half.  “We came in focused and they came in ready to play.

“These are heartbreaking losses.  I thought we played (Nevada) well at their place, but close isn’t good enough.  I have no complaints about how hard they (Lobos) are playing.”