Stevens: Lobos Hurt by Free Throw Line in 65-60 Loss at UNLV

Feb. 18, 2012

Final Stats

New Mexico Lobos Women - On The Mountain West Road

Saturday: UNLV Lady Rebels 65, New Mexico Lobos 60

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

The field belonged to the Lobos. The line belonged to the Lady Rebels.

The New Mexico Lobos outscored the UNLV Lady Rebels by four field goals, but the Rebs walked to the line 31 times and knocked down 22 of those unguarded shots to defeat the Lobos 65-60 Saturday night in the Thomas & Mack Center.

UNM was 6-of-12 from the line - outscored by 16 from that stripe - but the stat sheet didn't really lean toward the Lady Rebs in too many areas beside the free-throw line -- and the scoreboard.

"UNLV was more the aggressor," said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez, down playing the gap at the line. "They got the ball inside more. Our 16 turnovers were too many and we missed a ton of point-blank shots and layups."

The win gave the Lady Rebels a sweep over UNM for the first time in 10 years. UNM fell down by five points at the half (29-24), but played the Lady Rebs even in the second half.

"We had a chance and we did some really good things," said Sanchez. "The chances were there. We got a little stagnant on offense. We have to learn from this experience."

The Lobos got 19 points from Caroline Durbin and 10 points from Lauren Taylor. Porche Torrance had nine points and nine boards, but was handicapped by foul trouble throughout the game. UNLV was led by Mia Bell with 22 points, Kelli Thompson with 17 points and 6-foot-3 Lenita Sanford with 12 points.

The loss dropped the Lobos to 8-17 overall and 2-9 in Mountain West play. UNLV is 19-8 and 7-4 in the MW. UNLV won the board battle 40-37. UNM had 21 assists to 12 for Vegas. The Rebs had 14 steals to 4 for the Lobos.

Both teams had 30 points in the paint and UNM's bench scored 18 points to four points for the Lady Rebels' bench.

The Lobos got a scare in the game's final minute when Taylor ran into a screen and went down hard. The officials stopped the action and Taylor was helped to the bench, where she looked dazed and damaged.

"She got her bell rung," said Sanchez. "She'll be sore for a couple of days. Hopefully, she'll be able to play on Wednesday."

The Lobos' next game is at 7 p.m., Wednesday in The Pit. "Our focus now is on Colorado State," said Sanchez.

Second Half: New Mexico 36, UNLV 36

The Lobos needed to win the half, but did a good job playing the Rebs even on the scoreboard. UNLV went up 47-38 with 7:50 to play, and the Lobos could never cut that gap lower than four points.

At the 15:36 mark, the Lobos had gone inside twice to Torrance and once to Nnaji to bump their total to 30. However, UNLV was up 37-30 off a 3-pointer by Kelli Thompson. At the 11:33 break, UNLV was up 42-24.

The Lady Rebels came out of their huddle and Bell jetted past Jourdan Erskine, made a layup, and was bumped on her drive. She converted to push UNLV up 45-34 - 11 points.

At the 7:50 media break, the Rebs were up 47-38. A Taylor trey pulled the Lobos to 49-43, but Taylor then gave the points back fouling Thompson on a trey. The Rebel made the trio of free shots: 52-43. Bell blew past her defender again and flipped in a left-handed shot and UNLV was up 55-45. The Rebs took that lead into the 3:13 media break.

A UNLV turnover led to Durbin converting an old-fashion 3-point play: 55-49 with 2:16 to play. UNM needed some quick steals or quick fouls. Vegas then broke the UNM press for a layup and a 57-49 lead. Durbin then threw in a high-arching trey and was fouled. She missed the free shot, but UNM was down only 57-52.

The Lobos decided to play defense and UNLV missed a long trey as the shot clock ticked down. UNM broke in transition, but Taylor turned the ball over at the 1:20 mark. UNM was forced to foul. Vegas made four straight to go up 61-52.

Jackson hit a nice trey to make the score 61-55. UNM fouled Thompson, who missed the one-and-one, but UNM turned the ball over at the other end. The Lobos fouled again, but now UNLV was in the penalty situation and got two shots. UNLV made one: 62-55.

Durbin was fouled on a trey and made all three from the line: 62-58. The four-point gap gave the Lobos some hope, but there was only 19.1 seconds left when Thompson went to the line shooting two. The Reb made both: 64-58. That was it. Rhoades scored underneath for UNM and Bell made a single free throw to form the 65-60 final.

First Half: UNLV Rebels 29, New Mexico Lobos 24

The UNLV's pressure created a few easy buckets at the close of the first half to help the home team form a five-point cushion. The Lobos shot 40.7 percent from the floor while Vegas was gunning at a 34.5 clip. UNLV won the board battle 23-15 with eight offensive boards. Vegas also went 7-of-11 from the line while UNM went 0-3. Both teams had seven turnovers.

It was a quiet first half for Durbin with four points and Torrance with two points. Torrance spent the final 8:58 on the bench with three fouls.

The Lobos went up 4-1 on a layup by Chinyere Nnaji. UNLV leaned on two 3-points by Bell to go up 8-4. The Lobos used a Taylor trey, an Erskine layup and a Jackson jumper to go up 11-8. Durbin scored twice to keep UNM up 15-12. Torrance picked up her third personal at 8:58 and went to the bench.

The Lobos went up 17-14 on a backdoor cut by Taylor and 19-16 on a Taylor drive and kiss off the glass. Jayme Jackson hit a trey off good ball movement on the zone: 22-18. UNLV then went on a 6-0 run to go up 24-22. Sanchez called a time out.

Vegas' Bell scored a layup off a UNLV steal and also got fouled by Nelson with 25.1 to play. The Reb made the freebie: 27-22. Nnaji scored in transition for UNM and the Rebs got a follow just before the buzzer to form the 29-24 halftime score.