The Utah Utes won their final conference game against the Lobos in the Pit by 3 points, 56-53. It was a tight back and forth defensive battle that ended with the Utes on top. The game had 7 ties and 8 lead changes. It could have just as easily been the Lobos winning the game.
The first media timeout with 15:33 remaining had the two teams tied at five with identical shooting each being 2-7. The big difference that would remain throughout was rebounding where Utah already had a 9-1 advantage. The Utes scored first on a lay up by Diane Rolniak. Then Jasmine Patterson hit a 3 point shot to give the Lobos the lead and Porche Torrance hit a jumper to give the Lobos a 3 point lead. Unfortunately for the Lobos, it was one of two times in the entire game when they extended their lead. In every other case, the Utes scored next whenever the Lobos took the lead.
The Utes went on a 5 point run that was broken by a 3 point shot off the glass by Jessica Kielpinski which brought the crowd to their feet for the first time since the beginning of the game. But the Utes scored next never allowing the Lobos to gain momentum. Utah had a 4 point lead at the next timeout, but were still only shooting 30.8% against a tenacious defense that already had four steals and two blocks.
The Lobos eventual scoring leader, Lauren Taylor scored her first point on a lay up bringing the Lobos to within two points. She would end up scoring 6 of the Lobos final 10 points of the half, which almost ended tied at 18 points. But for the second straight Pit game, the opposing team hit a 3 point shot to end the half.
At the end of the first half, neither team was shooting 30% from the field. The Lobos were out rebounded by 9, with 7 of them offensive. Interestingly enough, the "Team Rebound" statistic was the leading rebounder for the Lobos. While every Lobo that played got a least one rebound, the leading rebounder for the game was also "Team Rebound."
The shooting in the second half improved for both teams and each team scored 35 points, almost doubling the output from the first half. Unfortunately for the Lobos they needed to outscore Utah and not just tie them. Lauren Taylor would score 15 of her 21 points in the second half. She scored 8 straight for the Lobos at one point bringing them from down 7 to down 1 before taking a much deserved rest. Amanda Best scored the next four for the Lobos giving them their first lead in 12 minutes and unfortunately their last lead of the night as well. But they were close and had a chance to win.
After getting down seven points with three minutes left, the Lobos outscored the Utes 9-3 to get within one point with 30 seconds left. The Lobos forced a missed shot with 21 seconds left, got the rebound, took a timeout to setup the final play. According to Coach Flanagan the Lobos played to take the first open shot. Freshman Morgan Toben was open on the left side and took the shot with 11 seconds left. It was close but didn't go in. The Utes got the rebound, were fouled and made two free throws for the final score 56-53. Amanda Best had one last contested shot with a second left, but didn't make it either.
The leaders for UNM were Lauren Taylor with 21 points, going 13-14 at the line and Jasmine Patterson scoring 11 points to join her in double figures. Porche Torrance had a career best 5 steals and team high 3 blocks.
The Lobos next play Saturday at 2:00 PM in the Pit against the UNLV Lady Rebels who are coming off a loss to CSU falling to 1-4 in conference play.