New Mexico Lobos Women’s Mountain West Basketball – In The Pit
Wednesday: Utah State 75, New Mexico 69
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
In the New Mexico Lobos' search for a Mountain West victory Wednesday night in The Pit, there was one other thing they couldn’t find: an answer for Utah State’s Jennifer Schlott.
“We let one kid go for 30. We didn’t have an answer for her,” said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez. “She (Schlott) was going back to her left every time. She is a nice player and she has been scoring like that all year long.”
Said UNM’s Bryce Owens: “She is very crafty. She definitely got us on the fakes tonight. Every one of us went for her fakes. I give her props. She is a very good player.”
The wisp of a Utah State guard burned UNM for 30 points going 10-of-24 from the floor and 10-of-10 from the line where she sealed the win for her Aggies.
The Lobos made it interesting at the end using three consecutive 3-pointers from Brea Mitchell to cut Utah State’s lead to 71-67 with 1:10 to play. The Lobos again sliced their hole to 73-69 with 33.6 seconds to play and in possession of the ball.
The Lobos turned it over and Schlott ended it at the line.
“We’re a good team; we feel,” said Sanchez. “But, again, talk is cheap. It’s frustrating.”
New Mexico went into the game struggling from 3-point range, but ended 9-of-21 from that range for a hot 42.9 percent. Utah State went 1-of-7 from long range, but the drives of Schlott more than compensated for the Aggies’ shortcoming outside. Utah State outscored UNM 36-to-18 in the paint and 18-to-5 on fast-break points.
“We gave up 36 points in the paint and most of that was dribble-drive,” said Sanchez.
The Lobos got 17 points from Bryce Owens, who went 5-of-8 from behind the line. Owens also had nine assists. Antiesha Brown added 10 points and Sara Halasz had 10 points and five assists. Utah State had 39 rebounds to 32 for UNM.
Utah State shot 44.1 percent from the field to 39.6 percent for the Lobos. Lynette Johnson joined Schlott in double figures with 10 points. Elise Nelson had seven assists for Utah State. The Lobos went to the line 30 times, but came back with only 18 points. Utah State was 22-of-26 from the line with their starters going 15-of-16.
“You score 69 points that should be enough to win a basketball game,” said Sanchez. “We have to get better. We went through every one of their plays (in practice) and they didn’t do anything new, but we allowed 75 points. It’s just not good enough. We have to get better and we have to get better at the defensive end.”
The last time UNM gave up 30 points to one player in a Mountain West game was in 2001 by BYU’s Erin Thorn.
The Aggies had taken control of the last minutes of the first half and carried over that momentum into the second half. At the 15:56 media break, Utah State was up 45-32. The good news for UNM at that point was Schlott, the leading scorer in the MW, had gone to the bench with four fouls. The Aggies had a nice lead, but a lot of time to kill before feeling good about bringing back their star.
Owens stayed hot from outside for UNM with another trey to make it 45-35. “I think Bryce can hit it anytime. She
has the green light,” said Sanchez of Owens’ long-range potential.
The Lobos needed to cut into Utah State’s lead while Schlott was riding the pine. It didn’t happen. At 13:31, Utah State was up 49-35 and Sanchez asked for a time out. At the 11:55 mark, Schlott returned with her four fouls and the count 51-39 in Utah State’s favor.
The Lobos were having trouble digging out of their hole. At the 7:50 stop, they were down 61-48. UNM finally made a dent and at 6:28 were down 63-54 – nine points. Plenty of time to make a run and the four-prone Aggies appeared to be slowing down. Still, UNM had to stop Schlott. She hit the next shot for Utah State: 65-54 and the Lobos threw it away at the 5:50 mark. Brooke Allemand fouled Schlott 40 feet away from the hoop and the Aggie senior pushed her team up 67-54 – back to 13 points.
UNM’s Shumpert scored inside, but Schlott went back to the line: 69-56. UNM had the ball down 69-58 and called time with 3:25 to play. UNM had been passing the ball around the Utah State zone. It was time to start attacking the hoop with treys or with hard dribble drives.
UNM went to the long shot and it put a scare into Utah State. Brea Mitchell hit three bombs in a row and at 1:10 UNM was down 71-67 with the Aggies – and Schlott – in possession. The Pit was getting into it.
“I give a lot of credit to Brea coming in in a tough spot and hitting those 3-poitners,” said Sanchez, whose Lobos fall to 7-12 and 2-6 in MW play. “That’s tough to do, coming off the bench cold.”
Said Halasz: “It’s team basketball. Brea came in and hit some big shots.”
Utah State broke UNM’s press and Schlott pretty much ended it with a soft 8-footer: 73-67. Still, the Lobos wouldn’t roll over. Shumpert hit two free throws and Schlott turned it over off pressure: 73-69 with 33.6 to play. UNM needed a basket and a steal or a stop. Instead, UNM turned it over. With 18 ticks to go, Schlott was back at the line shooting two. She pushed the count to 75-69 and the board stayed that way.