Lobos To Have A Second Home?

New Mexico scores an easy 72-44 win over Southern University in the first round of the Womens NIT

   A taller and stronger New Mexico team parlayed balanced scoring and a stifling defense to score a 72-44 win over Southern University in a first round game of the Womens NIT on Wednesday night.

        The Lobos next host Nebraska at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 25.  But because their home court is booked for NCAA womens tournament games on March 21 and 23, and a week-long professional rodeo event after that, UNM will play their second round game at Santa Ana Star Center in nearby Rio Ranch, NM.  This alternate arena is 10 miles north of Albuquerque and seats about 6,000 for basketball.

Home away from Home for the Lobos

        Teams in the Womens NIT aren't seeded, but New Mexico came into the game with an RPI of 80 versus Southern's RPI of 230.  The host Lobos proved those ratings can mean something by barging to an early lead and slowly widening it the rest of the game.

        UNM led by 38-15 at the half, and finished the game with a 28-point margin over the Jaguars.

        New Mexico, which finished the regular season in fourth place in the Mountain West Conference, was led by point guard and playmaker Amy Beggin.  The 5-6 junior scored a game-high 15 points, and contributed four rebounds, five assists and three steals.  She was 9-for-9 from the free throw line.

        Beggin was one of four Lobos who scored in double figures.  The others included center Angela Hartill, who gave UNM its first seven points of the game, a lead they never relinquished.  Hartill fiished with 11 points, a game-high eight rebounds and three assists.

        Amanda Adamson scored 14 points, including two of the Lobos' seven three-pointers, and Georonika Jackson came off the bench to contribute 10 points.  UNM shot 43.9% by netting 25 of 57 field goal attempts, and meshed 33.2% of their three pointers on 7 of 16 shooting.

Amanda Adamson

        The visiting Jaguars, who finished second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference with an 11-7 mark, ended their season with a 16-14 record.  The Lobos were 9-7 in the MWC and are now 23-10.

        Southern University's leading scorers were senior Deidra Jackson and sophomore Tiffany Foster, who each had eight points.  Jackson, her team's best shooter with an average of 12.2 points a game, was held to 4 of 17 and missed all three of her 3-point attempts by the hard-working UNM defense.  The Jaguars shot just 28.8% on 19 of 66 field goal tries.

        New Mexico also won the free throw battle by sinking 15 of 18 from the charity stripe.  Because the Lobos committed only five personal fouls during the game, the Jaguars could get only 1 of 2 from the line.  Ashley Augerson scored it with 6:54 left in the game.

        Each team had nine steals, and UNM committed 11 turnovers to 15 for Southern.  The Lobos also had the advantage in that category, scoring 20 points off Jaguar turnovers.  Southern scored six points off Lobo turnovers.

        Beggin's performance made her the sixth player in the history of UNM women's basketball to score 1,000 points as a junior.

        UNM coach Don Flanagan lauded her accomplishment, and felt his team "played pretty well" although Southern's quickness bothered them a little.  Flanagan also was pleased that he had the chance to play everyone on his roster.  Everyone on New Mexico's eleven-person roster played double minutes, and every player scored at least one point.

        It was the first game ever played between New Mexico and Southern University.  The second round game next Wednesday against Nebraska will be the second time this year the two teams have played.  Nebraska visited The Pit on Nov. 29 and left with a 62-51 loss.

        Their next game essentially will be on a neutral court, since New Mexico has never played at the Santa Ana Star Center.   But the game will be easy for UNM's fans to attend.   Attendance was 3,105 for the UNM-Southern game, a sparse turnout that was much smaller than the team's usual crowd.

        In fact, the last time UNM played in the Women's NIT was in 2001 when the Lobos advanced to the championship game against Ohio State.   New Mexico lost by just 62-61 in front of a sellout crowd of 18,018.

Talk about this game on our Lobo women's message board


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