10:00 PM ET, December 9, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- New Mexico guard Julie Briody's confidence and clutch scoring are solid these days.Briody scored seven straight points in just over a minute Saturday night to lead the No. 23 ranked Lobos to a 72-63 win over UCLA in the championship game of the Southwest Airlines Shootout.Briody, the Lobos' leading scorer as New Mexico (8-2) has run off seven straight wins, finished with 17 points. Dionne Marsh scored 21.The loss snapped a three-game winning streak by the Bruins (6-5).Briody, who missed her first five 3-point shots, hit just 5 of 18 shots, but she scored when New Mexico needed it most. She hit a baseline jumper, an 18-footer from the wing and a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the Lobos up 61-53 with 5:03 remaining. The Bruins got no closer than six points the rest of the way."That girl is good," UCLA coach Kathy Olivier said of Briody. "She hit some big shots, but we had to play a little more passive because we got hit boom, boom, boom on fouls."New Mexico, which trailed 22-12 with 8:48 left in the first half, ended the half on an 11-4 scoring run to lead 36-35.Lindsey Plummer led the Bruins with 22 points. Noelle Quinn added 15.New Mexico coach Don Flanagan said he was puzzled by Briody's lack of scoring early in the game since she has been a solid first half scorer in recent games."I thought, `What's up with Julie?' All of a sudden she couldn't hit her shots," Flanagan said.Flanagan attributed Briody's misses to being "too pumped up" and too anxious to beat the Bruins."Then she got on that roll when Dionne was out," Flanagan said.The Lobos were solid at the free throw line, hitting 19 of 23 shots, including 15 of 18 in the second half.Olivier said The Pit crowd also was a factor in the outcome."I was impressed with how we played under these type of conditions. Their fan support is worth a good 10 to 15 points," Olivier said. "It was nice to see us do some things and execute well under these conditions. We just got taken out of the game with our fouls."