Stevens: Lobos Give Seniors Pit Win over SDSU
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/07/2014

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

Friday: New Mexico 62, San Diego State 46

New Mexico Lobos Women at Mountain West Tournament – Las Vegas

Monday:  3 p.m. (MT) – New Mexico vs. Utah State – Thomas & Mack

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

The ending was a jumble of this and that with Senior Night hugs and tears thrown into the happy ending formed on The Pit scoreboard: New Mexico 62, San Diego State 46.

Senior Night can be like that.  A whirl of emotions with the bitter edge trimmed off because of a much-needed win. 

“It was amazing,” said senior Deeva Vaughn. “I’m always a crier.  I think it’s the mommy in me. I was crying before the game. It just got to me.  As soon as it was time for tipoff, I was able to get my mind right,”

The Pit said goodbye to Sara Halasz and Deeva Vaughn and the Lobos say hello to the Mountain West Tournament and Utah State and Jennifer Schlott, who pretty much had her way with the Lobos in two regular-season games.

Schlott and the Aggies are the Lobos' first-round opponent in the Vegas Thomas & Mack.  The teams finished in the No. 9 (UNM) and No. 8 slots and battle for the right to play No. 1 Colorado State.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times,” said Halasz, who had 14 points and seven boards in the 62-46 win over San Diego State.  “We have to come out and play smart.”

A smart thing would be to push Schlott to her right and get some soft help in that direction so Schott can’t finish at the rim.   The Mountain West’s leading scorer and single-season scoring  champ can score to her right, but the lefty is better to her left.  Make that deadly to her left.

But you probably can’t stop her. Schlott scored 33 and 30 during the regular season vs. UNM.

“Probably the best player in the league,” said Coach Yvonne Sanchez. “We have two days to watch film and figure out a way to slow her down so she doesn’t get 30”

The Aztecs had trouble stopping the Lobos Friday night in The Pit.  UNM raced to a 33-22 halftime count and went up by 16 in the second half at 44-28.  The Aztecs then threw out a run and made it interesting by pulling to 48-42 with eight minutes to play and 52-46 with 6:12 to play.

The Lobos again pulled away.  The Aztecs didn’t score in the final 6:12 which kind of made up for UNM not scoring in the final 11:37 in San Diego – an Aztec win.

“It’s not just winning. It’s how we won,” said Sanchez of the convincing win that carries UNM into “Pit West,” sometimes called the Thomas & Mack.  “We did a great job of executing.

“It means everything,” Sanchez said of carrying a two-game win streak to Vegas. “It was just an all-around team effort. We wanted to send those seniors off with a win and I’m glad we did.”

Antiesha Brown led all scorers with 16 points going 7-of-13 from the field. Alexa Chavez came in off the bench in relief of foul-plagued Khadijah Shumpert and Chavez hauled down five boards and added five assists.

“Alexa really stepped in and played physical,” said Sanchez. “She had some hustle hoops and five rebounds which was absolutely phenomenal and five assists which was absolutely phenomenal.”

The Aztecs had 27 turnovers to 10 for the Lobos.  UNM had 12 steals and shot 37.7 percent from the floor.  SDSU shot 36.4 percent and won the board battle 40-to-30.

“That’s what you want,” Sanchez said of UNM’s 10 turnovers. “We need to take care of the ball.

Halasz said the key to the win was defense especially when SDSU was making its second-half run.

“Just having that mindset,” said Halasz of staying strong to the finish. “We stepped up on defense.  That was our biggest thing coming into this game. Down the stretch everyone was focused in and that’s what you need to finish games.

“Coach got into us and I got into the girls. It was go as hard as you can and finish it.  The girls came out and stepped up and did what we are supposed to do.”

What Lobos are supposed to do on Senior Night in The Pit is win.  They did that.

“Sometimes it’s no fun to be a division one athlete,” said Sanchez.  “Sometimes it’s a job. It’s work. Sara and Deeva gave everything they had.  I can’t image this team being without those two.  I know we sent them off right.”

The Lobos sent Vaughn and Halasz off right in The Pit.  There is a third season on the way.  Do it again, Lobos.