9:00 PM ET, January 5, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- New Mexico kept one streak going and halted another.The No. 21 Lobos used balance on offense and tenacity on defense to beat No. 22 Utah 59-42 in a Mountain West Conference opener Thursday night.The win extended New Mexico's winning streak in The Pit in MWC games to 28 straight. The Lobos' last loss at home in a conference game was to UNLV on Jan. 6, 2002.The Lobos' defense snapped Utah forward Kim Smith's streak of double-figure scoring. Smith, who came in averaging 19 points a game, had scored in double figures in 50 straight games. She finished with 6 points, hitting just 3 of 11 shots and missed all six of her 3-point attempts against New Mexico's changing defenses.New Mexico (11-3, 1-0 MWC) scored its sixth straight win over Utah (9-3, 0-1).Brandi Kimble led the Lobos in scoring with 16 points. Dionne Marsh scored 15 points and Katie Montgomery had 14, 11 of them in the second half. Abbie Letz was in foul trouble much of the night but still had 9 rebounds, while Marsh had 7 rebounds and Montgomery 6."Balance, that's what our team is about," said Montgomery. "A different player steps up every game."This time it was Kimble, who repeatedly sliced through Utah's defense to score on inside jumpers."If we run a play, Brandi runs something different," said a smiling New Mexico coach Don Flanagan. "The thing about Brandi is if you just leave her alone, she's got a lot of good instincts. When she's relaxed and being aggressive with the ball, she's tough to defend."New Mexico led 31-17 at halftime and ended Utah's hopes of a second half rally by hitting its first four shots of the second half. Jana Francis opened the run a 16-foot jumper, Kimble converted a steal into a layup, Montgomery hit a baseline layup and Marsh connected on a 15-footer.The Lobos never trailed. They took a 15-8 lead by hitting seven of their first 11 shots while Utah was missing 10 of its first 13 shots and having trouble getting shots off. The Utes had four shot clock violations in the first 10 minutes."Getting them out of their rhythm in their halfcourt offense was extremely important," Flanagan said. "I didn't expect that we could hold (Shona) Thorburn and Smith both in single figures.Thorburn, the Utes' second leading scorer, scored five points.A basket by Letz on an offensive rebound gave the Lobos a 50-24 lead with 13:17 left. Freshman Morgan Warburton, the lone double figure scorer for the Utes with 13 points, sparked a 15-3 run by Utah that cut the deficit to 53-39 with 6:16 remaining. Warburton scored 11 points in the run, including a pair of 3-pointers and a three-point play.New Mexico used a 2-3 zone, a man defense and full court pressure to take the Utes out of their halfcourt offense in the first half. The Utes went 6-for-31 from the field in the first half, including 1-for-14 from 3-point range.Utah finished with season lows in points, 3-point shooting (4-of-27) and field goal percentage (26.2 percent)."We need to put this game behind us and move on," Utah coach Elaine Elliott said. "They (New Mexico) played good defense."
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||16-60 (.267)||25-54 (.463)|
|3P Made-Attempted||4-27 (.148)||4-14 (.286)|
|FT Made-Attempted||6-8 (.750)||8-10 (.800)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||13 (0/0)||13 (0/0)|