New Mexico Lobos Women’s Mountain West Basketball – at Wyoming
Wednesday: Wyoming 79, New Mexico 75
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
There were more than enough favorable Lobo numbers to suggest that New Mexico is coming back from frozen Laramie with a Mountain West win over the Wyoming Cowgirls.
Like free throws: 21-of-23. A number sizzling enough to melt a Wyoming snowman.
But when you toss in the anti-Lobo whistles that sent five Lobos to the bench nursing five fouls, that helps to explain the Cowgirls’ hard-fought 79-75 win Wednesday night in Wyoming’s Arena-Auditorium.
“I’m not blaming the officials,” said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez. “But the whistle blew a ton of times. That’s (on) us, having to adjust.
“I think we came out in the second half and gave everything we had. I thought the second half we came back with a lot of energy. I thought we were coming back. We had lot of kids foul out that I’m not sure should have.”
A huge whistle went Wyoming’s way with 2:37 to play when UNM's Deeva Vaughn scored on a drive that would have cut UNM’s gap to 67-64. Instead, Vaughn was called for an offensive charge and went to the bench with her fifth foul -- and a hot hand. Her basket was nullified.
“I think it should have been an and-one,” said Sanchez, referring to Vaughn getting a free throw after the bucket and after the collision. “I would really like to see that on film. I thought she got fouled.”
Wyoming went down to get two free throws from Marquelle Dent to go up 69-62 with 2:22 to play and at 1:58 the Cowgirls were up 71-62.
The Cowgirls held on for the win.
“They (refs) decide to call it tight,” said Sanchez. “Wyoming went to the line 38 times.”
The Cowboys went 24-of-38 from the line, but only outscored UNM by three thanks to the Lobos throwing down 21-of-23 free throws for a sizzling 91.3 percent.
“That was absolutely incredible,” said Sanchez. “That’s a credit to the kids and their concentration. This is not an easy place to play.
"They are undefeated in conference play at home. I’m not satisfied with the loss, but I’m proud of our effort. I just wish we could have closed that thing out.”
It would have been a tough close for the Lobos since Vaughn ended up on the bench with four other disqualified Lobos: Antiesha Brown, Khadijah Shumpert, Sara Halasz and Brooke Allemand. Bryce Owens was the only UNM starter who finished the game.
Brown had 22 points and six boards. “That’s what we need her to do,” said Sanchez. “Antiesh was a warrior in the second half.”
Vaughn had 16 points and six boards. “Deeva had a complete game,” said Sanchez. Owens had eight points and Kianna Keller continued her streak of good board work with nine rebounds.
Sanchez obviously wasn’t thrilled with some of the whistles, but she didn’t hesitate in pointing out a key statistical flaw that came down on the UNM defense. “The biggest thing that stands out is they shot 52 percent from the field,” she said. “They did a nice job when they had to.”
The Lobos fell behind 52-39 at the 14:45 mark of the second half, but came back to form a 58-58 tie at the 5:44 mark on a layup by Brown. The Cowgirls quickly recaptured the lead and held the Lobos off the rest of the way in. UNM was down 65-62 with 3:29 to play, but Wyoming rolled out six straight points to form a 71-62 lead with 1:58 to go.
The Lobos nipped Wyoming on the boards 38-37, but UNM shot only 35.8 percent from the floor. The Lobos had only eight turnovers, but forced Wyoming into 14 miscues. UNM was whistled for 29 fouls and Wyoming had 19 fouls.
Marquelle Dent had 21 points and seven rebounds for Wyoming and Kayla Woodward had 22 points. UNM got 17 points off its bench to five for Wyoming’s subs.
“It was just one of those games. We played our hearts out, but we fell a little short,” said Sanchez, who saw her Lobos fall to 8-13 overall and 3-7 in Mountain West play.