Lobo Women Stunned 52-47 at Air Force

Feb. 29, 2012

New Mexico Lobos Women's Basketball - On The Mountain West Road
Wednesday: Air Force Falcons 52, New Mexico Lobos 47

AIR FORCE ACADEMY -- The combination was a deadly one and not one the New Mexico Lobos needed to take on the Mountain West road. New Mexico shot 32.1 percent from the field and had 24 turnovers in helping Air Force post its first MW win of the season.

That win came on the final regular-season game and on Falcon's Senior Night. The momentum the Lobos had hoped to carry into next week's Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas disappeared on a Clune Arena scoreboard that favored the Falcons 52-47.

The Wednesday night loss allowed the Falcons to escape the dismal possibility of no MW wins in 2012. Instead, Air Force goes into the MW tourney with a 1-13 league mark to go along with a 6-23 overall mark. The Lobos fell to 9-19 overall and 3-11 in conference play.

The Lobos, playing without 3-ball threat Lauren Taylor, went 1-of-11 from long range for a 9.1 percent mark. UNM also lost Chinyere Nnaji to a shoulder injury in the first half.

The Lobos led the contest 45-44 on a layup by Caroline Durbin with 3:12 to play. Air Force then powered to a 40-45 lead - it's largest of the game -- and never looked back. UNM's Porche Torrance made it 50-47 with 33 seconds to play but Air Force sealed the 52-47 win at the line.

Durbin finished with 13 points. Torrance had another solid, overall game with 12 points, 14 boards, four assists, three steals and three blocks. Jourdan Erskine had eight points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

Air Force, the poorest shooting team in the MW, wasn't much better than the Lobos from the floor, shooting 34 percent. The Falcons actually had a chance to make this an easy win, but Air Force went 14-of-27 from the free-throw line. UNM went 12-of-17 from the line.

Air Force had 19 turnovers and outscored UNM 24-to-16 on points after turnovers. The Lobos won the board battle 44-36. The 24 turnovers were the second highest this season in that category, surpassed only by the Lobos' 30 miscues in their first game of the season against Texas Tech.

Second Half: Air Force 27, New Mexico 22

Durbin got the Lobo offense going quickly with the team's first three of the game 14 seconds into the half to put New Mexico up 28-25. That also would turn out to be the Lobos last trey of the game. That hoop was the start of a 7-6 run narrowly owned by New Mexico that put the Lobos up 32-31 with 15:03 to play.

A scoring drought ensued between the first and second media break. Durbin added a bucket for UNM while Alicia Leipprandt notched a jumper for Air Force to set the score at 34-33, a score that held until 11:48 remained.

Air Force came out of the second break on a 6-3 run to grab a 40-36 lead. The Lobos scored four straight to tie the contest 40-all on a pair of free throws by Durbin and a layup by Torrance. Coach Yvonne Sanchez burned her fourth time out.

Durbin's layup put UNM up 45-44 before Air Force took 46-45 lead. A steal and old-fashioned three-point play by Camille Thompson stretched the lead to 49-45. With 1:11 left in the game, the Lobos ran an inbounds play for Durbin, but she missed the three and Air Force took possession with a minute to play. Jackson fouled on the inbounds play, putting Medina on the line for two. She made one, and the Lobos took the ball down five, 50-45.

Torrance was fouled with 33 seconds to play and made both: 50-47. The Lobos put on the full court press and got back-to-back jump balls to take possession under their own basket with 26 seconds to play and down three points. Air Force burned a time out.

New Mexico inbounded the ball, but turned it over, and was forced to foul with 15 seconds on the clock. Medina made both to put Air Force up 52-47. The Lobos had a final turnover with nine seconds to play.

Air Force was led by Hilbig and Medina with 12 points apiece. Hilbig also snagged 14 rebounds.

First Half: New Mexico 25, Air Force 25

Torrance put the first points of the game on the board for New Mexico after nearly two and a half minutes of back-and-forth play between both teams. The Lobos' pressure forced the Falcons to run the shot clock down and take contested shots.

At the first media time out at 15:44, the Lobos were up 4-0 and the Falcons were shooting 0-of-5 from the floor.

New Mexico headed in to the final contest of the regular season plagued by injuries. Unfortunately, the injury bug struck once again at the 15 minute mark, as sophomore forward Chinyere Nnaji left the court with a shoulder injury.

The Lobos maintained control of the game though, holding Air Force to just a single free-throw in over eight minutes of play. The Falcons did not score their first field goal until the 11:35 mark on a jumper by Austyn Wilson to put the score at 11-3 in favor of the Lobos.

At the second media break, the Falcons were shooting a cold 10 percent (1-for-10) from the floor.

The Falcons held the Lobos scoreless for two minutes before putting Jayme Jackson on the line with 9:29 to play. Jackson made one to put the Lobos up 12-5, but the Lobos found themselves in a mildly precarious foul scenario. Durbin and Erskine had to defend carefully with two fouls apiece, which allowed the Falcons to go on a 6-1 run to cut the 10 point lead to three with seven and a half minutes to play.

Air Force's momentum continued coming out of the break, when Cherae Medina tied the game at 12-all on a three-ball at the 6:37 mark.

New Mexico scored four straight to go up 16-12, but Erskine's third personal foul put her on the bench with over five minutes to play in the half. Air Force took advantage to grab a 19-16 lead.

Over the final five minutes of the first half, the Falcons led by as many as four points. A layup by Jayme Jackson with 1:37 to play tied the game at 24-all, and a 1-for-2 effort at the charity stripe by Torrance gave the Lobos a slim 25-24 lead.

A second foul on Jackson put Hilbig on the line with 20 seconds to play. She missed the first but made the second to tie the game at 25. The Lobos turned the ball over on the inbounds, but made a stop to head into the locker room with the game knotted up.

At the half, the Lobos were shooting at a 37.5 mark and 7-for-10 from the free-throw line. The Falcons were at a 29.6 shooting effort and a 53.3 mark from the line. Both teams had logged nine fouls apiece, and the Lobos had 13 turnovers to the Falcons' 11.