Stevens: Lobos Hammer Houston 70-44; Prepare For MW Wars
Jan. 2, 2012
New Mexico Lobos Women's Basketball - At The Pit
Monday: New Mexico Lobos 70, Houston 44
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Bring on the Broncos! It's time to climb the Mountain! But first -- a little Lobo rest.
The New Mexico Lobos tuned up for the upcoming Mountain West wars by defanging the Houston Cougars 70-44 Monday night in The Pit.
"Our kids jumped on them right away. I'm really proud of them," said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez.
The win handed the Lobos a two-game win streak going into a much-needed break prior to opening the MW race Jan. 11 at Boise State . The 6-8 Lobos, who have battled through a trying period of injury and illness, now have a week plus to prepare for their trip to Boise, Idaho.
"I'm not really worried about that right now," said Sanchez of the upcoming trip into the depths of Idaho. "We are off (Tuesday) and we have a lot of time. We'll start working on Boise on maybe Thursday. We need some time off.
"When they (Boise) were picked last in the leagues, I kind of shook my head because I didn't pick them last. They play very well at home. They are No. 1 in the league in scoring and we are No. 1 in scoring defense, so something has to give."
The women's side of the Mountain hasn't really had any teams distinguish themselves, like UNLV, San Diego State and UNM have on the men's side. There is a lot of parity. That might be good news for the Lobos, who appear to be playing better basketball as they approach the MW race.
The UNLV women carried a 10-4 mark into this week's action and SDSU was at 8-4 followed by Boise State at 8-6. TCU is the only other MWC team with a winning mark (7-6) as UNM, Wyoming, Air Force and Colorado State are all under .500. Boise State is 7-3 at home. UNM's next MW game is Jan. 14 in The Pit vs. a struggling Wyoming team.
"We shot with a lot of confidence and that was exciting to see," said Sanchez. "People on this team want other people to suceed and that is huge."
The Lobos were lead by Nikki Nelson with a career-high 16 points. She was 5-of-5 from the field. The feisty UNM point guard also had four assists to one turnover.
"Nikki is a leader," said Sanchez. "She is one of our captains and she has led this team from the beginning. She had two ACLs (surgeries) and it could have been, 'Coach, I'm done.' But she didn't want to abandon her team. She had a tremendous (stat) line."
Said Nelson: "I was so happy. It felt like everything clicked. We were all working together passing the ball and it was fun. I feel like our team was on fire. They are a good team and they played hard, I just think our team was feeling it tonight."
Porche Torrance, this week's Mountain West Player of The Week, threw out another complete game scoring 11 points while adding nine rebounds, four blocks, five assists and two steals. Deeva Vaughn scored 14 points and Lauren Taylor added 10 points off the bench.
"Deeva is just really, really playing well. She is playing with a lot of confidence," said Sanchez.
The biteless Cougars fell to 1-11 on the season with their only win coming over hapless Houston Baptist, the team UNM rolled 65-38 in Houston.
The Lobos held the Cougars to 27 percent shooting with Roxana Button scoring 26 points going 9-of-33 from the floor with no assists in 39 minutes. UNM had 19 assists to five for Houston.
The game probably was over at halftime when UNM pulled in with a fat 41-22 lead. The obvious key was for the Lobos to not come out of their locker room with no energy or passion for the finish. The Lobos answered that question quickly by opening the second half with two treys, one by Nelson and one by Durbin. UNM was up 47-22.
UNM's Deeva Vaughn scored three straight buckets to push UNM up 53-22. Nelson then made a steal and led a break that led to her taking a 15-footer - swish, and the Lobos were up 55-22.
First Half: Lobos 41, Houston 22
The Lobos came out in the first half and threw the perfect one-two combination at the struggling Cougars: Good offense, good defense.
The Lobos were sizzling from 3-point range going 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) and not shooting bad in close either at 50 percent. The Lobos backed that with a tough man-to-man defense that held Houston to 27.6 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes.
The Lobos were paced in scoring by Nikki Nelson, who scored nine points, going 3-of-3 from long range. Lauren Taylor went 2-of-3 from behind the line and had eight points. Porche Torrance had five rebounds and four assists. The Lobos had 12 assists to two for Houston.
The Lobos ran out of a 2-2 tie to a quick 14-2 lead and at the 11:20 mark sat on a fat 19-6 lead. At that mark, UNM was shooting 57 percent from the floor and 75 percent (3-of-4) from behind the line. The Lobos came out of the break and Taylor banged in UNM's fourth trey. The Lobos were up 22-6.
Jaime Parker came off the bench to knock down the Lobos' sixth trey and followed her bomb with two free throws. Parker ended up with a nice stat line in 13 minutes as she eventually totaled five points, three rebounds and a steal.
UNM was up 27-6 in the first half when Taylor hit another trey and the Lobos were cruising at 30-6. The Lobos pulled in for the 41-22 halftime bulge.