Stevens: 12 Lobo Moments: Sanchez's Women Roar to MW Title Game
July 20, 2012
Top Lobo Moments From 2011-12: GoLobos.com is flashing back on 12 special Lobo moments from the 2011-12 season.
Today: Lobo Women Make History at MW Tourney
Next: Alford's Lobos Have Huge Trophy Haul in 2012
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
There were things jokingly written about the Lobo women's basketball season that were too close to reality to be laughing matters.
Did Coach Yvonne Sanchez have any leftover college eligibility? Was the team bus really an emergency vehicle? Was the No. 1 phone number on Sanchez's speed dial really the Lobo training room?
"When you are going through it, you don't have a choice in what's happening, so you just deal with it," said Sanchez.
It was a bad luck season of bumps, bruises, surgery, concussions - you name it - but this team of Lobo fighters managed to battle through the adversity, put a scare into a number of teams, and roar to the title game in the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas.
So, how big a surprise was it to fight the Lobos battling San Diego State for the MW's automatic NCAA bid?
To Sanchez and her Lobos, it was no surprise. They often were only a few buckets - or a few turnovers - away from pulling upsets throughout the regular season. They had an All-Mountain First Team player in Caroline Durbin and the MW Defensive Player of the Year in Porche Torrance.
And, hey, isn't there good reason why the Vegas Thomas & Mack is called "Pit West?"
Still, to put the Lobos' dramatic run to the MW title game into "upset" perspective, here are two dramatic facts:
Fact No. 1: The Lobos made MW history by rallying from a 54-45 deficit with 7:43 to play to stun the UNLV Rebels on their home soil and becoming the first No. 7 women's seed to ever beat a No. 2 tourney seed. UNM outscored UNLV 16-4 down the stretch to post the 61-58 shocker.
Fact No. 2: The Lobos made Mountain West history again by upsetting Boise State 51-50 to become the first No. 7 seed to reach the title game. UNM leaned on a last-second block by senior Porche Torrance to help preserve the win. Torrance had 15 points and 12 boards.
The two upsets gave UNM a chance to finish a Cinderella run in Vegas, but the clock struck midnight for the Lobos in a 57-43 loss to San Diego State - clearly the best team in the MW and a team that was not looking past the UNM team that already had posted two tourney upsets.
"To finish out the way we finished out, that was special and it happened to a bunch of deserving kids," said Sanchez. "They never gave up. Never felt sorry for themselves. They just kept believing and went to work."