Lobo women hammer Houston 70-44

Senior Nikki Nelson and junior transfer Deeva Vaughn entered the new year of 2012 by shaking off their injury-filled final month of 2011 to lead the UNM women's basketball team had great success in their final foray in the non-conference schedule, dominating visiting 70-44 Houston before an announced crowd of 6,447 at The Pit Monday night.

Nelson scored a career-high and team-high 16 points while junior transfer Deeva Vaughn scored 14 in what can only be called a complete domination by the New Mexico over the toothless Cougars. UNM improved to 6-8 while Houston fell to 1-11.

"I thought we really executed well," said head coach Yvonne Sanchez. "I thought the New Mexico State game was a very good game for us to prepare for this one, and we started off well.  The second half we kept our foot down, the subs came in and did a nice job. It was a good team effort."

The two-game winning streak is the perfect panacea for the team, which struggled through injury and line-up changes through out the non-conference part of it schedule.

Nelson said getting a mini winning streak going is "refreshing."

" Our team has lost a lot of close games and after a while it gets a little bit frustrating, so it's been really refreshing to win," Nelson said. "It feels good (laughing)"

Senior Porche Torrance scored 11 points and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds while Lauren Taylor came off the bench to score 10 for UNM. The Cougars were paced by forward Terran Alford, who scored eight.

The Lobos showed a hot hand shooting early, going 7-of-9 from three point land in the first half to race out to a 30-8 lead over Houston after the first seven minutes of play.

UNM would take a 41-18 lead into halftime by shooting 50 percent from the field (16-of-32) in the first half and finish 27-of-60 (45%) shooting overall and hitting 9-of-11 (56.3%) on treys.

"I feel like our team was on fire," Nelson said.  "They were a good team though.  We let a few of them go off shooting-wise.  They are a good team and they played hard, I just think our team was feeling it tonight."

Torrance said getting the win was great for the Lobos, especially with the close loses the team endured in December.

"It feels really good," said Torrance. "Like Nikki said we lost some tough games by two or three points and it gets frustrating.  You are either up the whole game, or you are down, you comeback and hustle and it's like, you lose.  I think that those games are really going to help us out in conference, so hopefully we can carry over and learn from those experiences."

The team now has nine days off before its conference opener at Boise State on Wednesday, Jan. 11. The Broncos are currently 8-6 overall in the eight-team MWC, which has four teams at or above .500 for the season.

Sanchez said getting a winning streak is good for her team's confidence going into MWC play.

"It's good because conference play is tough, " Sanchez said. "You know the first month, we have a tough month, going up to Boise. Boise is very good and I know they were picked last (but) they never should have been and I knew how good they were. They have a great coach and a very good team. 

"They (Boise) are the conference's leading scorer and we are number one in scoring defense, so what's the old saying ‘Something's gotta give?" she said. "This was a good prep game for Boise because they are a very good team and they are deep, and we are going to go up there and battle."

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