9:00 PM ET, January 25, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- New Mexico sophomore Dionne Marsh is a high maintenance scorer.Marsh scored 18 points by hitting seven of eight shots Wednesday night and opened up scoring opportunities for her teammates as New Mexico (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) beat San Diego State 76-45. "Marsh always seems to need a double team," said San Diego State coach Beth Burns. "She's a shooter's best friend." With the Aztecs trying to stop Marsh's jumper, the rest of the Lobos had plenty of open shots and they knocked in 9 3-pointers. That tied their season high proficiency from behind the arc. "I don't know of too many teams that can hit nine of 18 in practice, much less in a game," Burns said. "They're so unselfish. That's a part of New Mexico that you have to coach to fully appreciate." New Mexico (15-4, 5-1 MWC) used an 11-0 run in the first half to break it open and hand the Aztecs (3-14, 0-7 MWC) their seventh straight loss. Most of Marsh's shots were in the paint, off short turnaround jumpers. Erin Jackson with 14 points and Michelle Strawberry with 13 led San Diego State. San Diego State hit four of its first six shots to take an 8-5 lead but fell behind for good by going scoreless for more than nine minutes. The Aztecs missed 10 straight shots during that stretch. The shooting slump ended with Shanna Demus' offensive rebound basket with 3:18 left in the first half, and by then New Mexico had a 26-14 lead. New Mexico led 31-18 at halftime and three straight 3s -- one by Katie Montgomery and two by Abbie Letz -- in the first three minutes of the second half pushed the lead to 40-24 with 17:04 left. "The early part of the second half they (Aztecs) kept it close, and then we went on a run and they stopped making shots," said New Mexico coach Don Flanagan. Montgomery, the Lobos' point guard, had a solid game with 11 points and team highs of six assists and seven rebounds. She and Letz, who finished with nine points, combined for six 3-pointers. The Lobos held San Diego State to 34.5 percent shooting and the Aztecs hit just 2 of 12 3s. Still, Flanagan found some flaws. "Defensively, I thought we could have done better," he said. San Diego State lost starting center Desiree Johnson with 7:32 left in the game with a sprained left ankle. Johnson went down under the New Mexico basket and had to be helped off the court by teammates. The win was the 13th straight for New Mexico over the Aztecs and kept the Lobos within a game of Mountain West leader Brigham Young, which won 67-64 at TCU.
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