Lobo women fall short at TCU

In a season that started as a rebuilding and has turned into a survival course/M*A*S*H unit visit for the UNM women's basketball team, Saturday's close 63-56 loss at host Texas Christian holds more value than a simple moral victory as the Lobos were again competitive but, once again, were unable to find a way to grab their first win in Mountain West Conference play this season.

New Mexico (6-14, 0-6 MWC) trailed by as much as 12 point in the second half but rallied with a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 53-51 2:27 left in the game before the Lady Frogs were able to close the game out from the free throw line.

"It was a good effort," said head coach Yvonne Sanchez during the post-game show on 610 AM, The Sports Animal. "I'm proud of some of the things we did. We set team goals like 15 turnovers or less; we had 16, which is much better than 22. We set team goals like not giving them offensive rebounds, seven or less. They had 11 but it's a lot better than 18. And we set our synergy for 55 to hold them to, they did score 65 but we did foul at the end. We did try to extend the game and see what we could get out of it."

Caroline Durbin came off the bench to score a game-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 2-of-2 three point shooting while Porche Torrance just missed a double-double, scoring 10 points and pulling down nine rebounds. The Lobo women got scoring from seven of the nine players who suited up against TCU (11-10, 4-2.)

"We had some great performances," said Sanchez. "Jourdan Erskine came back in and she was solid. I wasn't sure if Caroline Durbin was going to be able to go, and she had 20. But I wasn't going to put her at risk, it's not worth it to me. But she answered the call and very well. Porche did a nice job again, nine points and 10 rebounds."

"Again there's a lot of positives the only thing that was tough is that we didn't get the win," concluded Sanchez.

UNM took a 2-0 lead then trailed until the 6:22 mark of the first half when Lauren Taylor hit a three-pointer that ignited a 9-0 run as the Lobos took a 29-23 lead with 4:32 left in the half.

But TCU answered with a 10-0 run to finish the first half to take a 33-29 halftime lead. Then the Lady Frogs opened the second half with a 5-0 run to assume a 38-29 lead just two minutes in the second half. That 15-0 run was the turning point of the game. Sanchez said poor finishes to the first half and slow second half starts have been something that plague UNM in recent games.

"It's getting to be a thing we have to deal with," said Sanchez. "If we can come out of the locker room sooner, if we need to do something different like going into the press right away just to get our bearings… but that does seem to be hurting us. We just can't give up that many points right off the start and try to play catch up with any team in our league, especially a talented team like TCU. And we let that happen today."

Still, Sanchez said she sees her team improving.

"There are some really good things that happened and we've got to get a little bit more focused in terms of the time and score and our turnovers," she said. "We had a chance to pull it to two and we just can't turn the ball over. Now we did it over the course of the game but sometimes… we've got to box out."

Sanchez said, "It's those momentum shifters that we've got to get. We'll work on it. We've got Air Force on Tuesday. Right now it's all about Air Force.

The Falcons, who stand at 5-15, 0-5 in the MWC, play at UNLV tonight and currently share the MWC cellar with New Mexico. Sanchez said she and the team have Air Force firmly in their sights.

"I told the kids, ‘Look, we're getting that Air Force win," Sanchez said. "We're getting the Air Force win and right now we're focusing on what we've got to do to do that. I think they understand that with the effort we gave tonight we would have beat Wyoming, we probably would've beat Colorado State. We could've beat Vegas at home. Those are the positives we that you look at."

Sanchez said the team and coaches are now focused on finishing strong in the second half of the MWC schedule.

"We've got a healthy Jourdan back," Sanchez said. "So let's go tackle the second half of conference. That's what our focus is. Those kids aren't putting their head's down in the locker room. The coaching staff certainly isn't. We're going to prepare them. I know they're hungry so we're going to get it back and get going."

CSU 61, UNM 54: The New Mexico Lobos once again were hurt by turnovers (22), but used a 9-of-18 effort from the 3-point line to hang around with the Colorado State Rams before losing a Mountain West contest 61-54.

The Lobos got 14 points off the bench from senior Lauren Taylor, who went 4-of-9 from long range. UNM's Caroline Durbin went 2-for-3 behind the line and also reached double figures with 13 points.

For the third straight game, New Mexico put the opening points on the board, shooting a lights-out 80 percent to take an early 9-2 lead However, for the third straight game, New Mexico (6-13, 0-5 in the MW) also saw an early lead vanish.

The Rams rallied to take a 27-23 halftime lead and started the game on a 5-0 run to take a 32-23 lead two minutes into the second half.

The Lobos rallied to cut the lead to 34-33 with 12:49 left in the game, but CSU built the lead back up to 11 with just over a minute left in the game as the Lobos' shooting went cold down the stretch.

 The win pushed the Rams to 4-1 in the Mountain West.

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