"It was a really disappointing game all around," said head coach Yvonne Sanchez. " I thought we didn't have much energy so they were able to come in and shoot the ball well and do some really nice things. By halftime they had 35 points which is way too much and then again we had a night with a poor shooting percentage."
UNM traded shots with the Bears to start and held a 9-7 lead three minutes into the contest. But UNC managed a 10-2 run over the next six-and-a-half minutes to take the lead permanently as New Mexico's shooting went absolutely frigid and UNM began to assert themselves on the boards.
The Bears (6-5) would finish with a 46-32 edge on rebounding – outrebounding the Lobo women 29-14 on the defensive boards to limit second chance scoring opportunities for UNM.
"I think it was a mental lapse," said junior Jourdan Erskine, who paced the Lobos with a double-double, scoring 13 points and pulling 10 rebounds. "Usually we out rebound the opponent but for some reason tonight it just didn't happen tonight. I know I forgot to box out a few times and that helped give them the edge. We have to go back to the fundamentals."
Lauran Taylor added 12 points off the bench and Caroline Durbin scored 10 points while Porche Torrance added nine points and seven rebounds. Guard Nikki Nelson started but only played 14 minutes after taking an elbow to the eye in the first half. Deeva Vaughn did not suit up, still suffering from the effects of a concussion injury.
The Bear leaned largely on their guard-forward combination of D'Ssgara Strange and Kaisha Brown, who finished with 16 and 22 points respectively for the night. Forward Kim Lockridge added a double-double, with16 points and 11 rebounds.
UC took a 35-24 halftime lead and led by as much as 16 points in the second half before UNM managed to mount a comeback.
The Lobo women managed an 8-0 run midway through the second half to cut the lead to at 52-45 but as she managed to do all night, Strange uncannily hit a jumper to end the rally and silence the Pit crowd.
New Mexico managed a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 59-53 with 34 seconds left in the game but were unable to get an closer as UNC made 2 of 4 free throws down the stretch and denied UNM a field goal o seal off the victory.
The Lobos occasionally employed full court pressure, which seemed to help their comeback and were able to weather the few moments of full pressure the Bears employed, which was a big improvement since the NMSU game.
Sanchez said she did see a few bright spots in the loss that could be built upon.
"I thought Jaime Parker went in there again for the second time in a row, hit a huge three and she brought in a lot of energy," said Sanchez. "Until I watch the game again I'll figure it out, and that's my responsibility, I can't throw the players under the bus and say 'They did this or that wrong.' I have to find a way to make them play harder.
Sanchez said the team would be working on fundamentals before it final three non-conference games against Houston Baptist, Arizona and arch-rival New Mexico State – all road games.
"As a team, (fundamentals and the little things) are the things that are going to win us games," Sanchez said. "We're low in numbers and if we don't do the little things we're not going to beat anybody. The shooting percentages of our shooters need to get better."
Erskine said the loss would help motivate UNM to improve.
"It just makes you want to work harder," she said "That we have to practice those fundamentals and keep on going. It does kind of give you a chip on your shoulder but then again we just have to get back to hard work."
The Lobo women travel to play at Houston Baptist this Sunday at 1 p.m. MST then travel to Tucson to play Arizona on Wednesday at 5 p.m. MST. After Christmas break UNM ravel to Las Cruces to play NMSU at the Pan American Center on Friday, Dec. 30 at 6 p.m. before returning home for their final non-conference game against Houston on Mon. Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. MST.
New Mexico starts conference play on Wednesday Jan. 11 at Boise State. Tip off for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
All games can be heard on 610 AM, The Sports Animal. The NMSU game will televised live on Fox Sports Arizona (Ch. 686 on DirecTV) and Altitude (Ch. 681 on DirecTV) and AggieVision (click here for listings) and will also be available streaming live on ESPN3.com.
UTEP 53, UNM 43
At The Pit, the New Mexico women trailed just 24-22 to the undefeated Miners, but UTEP (9-0) ran away in the end to secure the win before an announced 6,680 on Saturday, Dec. 10.
UNM finished with just one player in double figures, junior Caroline Durbin who scored 13 points.
It's disappointing because I know they are better than that," said head coach Yvonne Sanchez. "It seemed like when the shots weren't falling, they got more into a rut. That's when (the Miners) made their run. Against a team like UTEP, it's hard to play catch-up."
Despite shooting just 25.5 percent from the fielding the first half, UNM trailed by just two at halftime. But UTEP was able to open up a scond ahlf lead behind its strong bench, which finished with 36 points collectively.
UNM cut the lead to 43-38 with 6:47 left in regulation, but the Miners went on a 7-0 run to turn back the rallyinh Lobos. New Mexico hit only three field goals in the final ten minutes of the second half. And turned the ball over 14 times.
"I was proud of our effort on defense," said Sanchez. "But we needed to hit some shots. They just didn't fall. We had a stretch where the wheels kind