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New Problems Arise in Loss

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Rebounding, Defense Poor vs. Wyoming

Fix one leak, another springs up.

The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team lost a board-room battle with Wyoming at the Pit on Wednesday night. The Cowgirls grabbed 50 rebounds and dominated time of possession on their way to a 72-54 victory over the Lobos.

UNM shot reasonably well in the second half (43 percent) and somewhat rectified the awful free-throw shooting of its previous game against San Diego State. This time its defense and particularly rebounding went south.


New Mexico at Nevada, 5 p.m., 610 AM

“Rebounding was basically the game,” New Mexico coach Yvonne Sanchez said. “We’ve done a nice job on the boards most of the year, but not tonight. Wyoming will take advantage of opportunities, and we opened the door for ‘em.”

Cowgirls senior Chaundra Sewell was particularly opportunistic, burning the home team for 17 points and 12 rebounds, her second straight double-double in the Pit. The slight, 6-foot-1 Sewell was a primary topic of conversation after the game.

“She’s an aggressive player who just has that heart,” Lobo Sara Halasz said. “She’s a go-getter. Next time we’ve got to box her out.”

Easier said than done. The Mountain West Conference’s leading rebounder rarely leaves the court for Wyoming (16-4, 5-2) and does a little of everything. With the Lobos desperately pressing late in the game, Sewell even brought the ball upcourt effectively.

“I expect a double-double from Chaundra every night,” Wyoming coach Joe Legerski said. “That’s a lot to put on a player, but she goes out and gets it.”

Sewell was only part of the problem for UNM (10-9, 2-4). Kayla Woodward finished with 20 points, and Kaitlyn Mileto had 17 for the Cowgirls.

Deeva Vaughn scored 13 points in 19 minutes to lead the Lobos. Halasz, who had a strong game with 12 points, six rebounds and six assists, was the only other double-figure scorer for UNM.

Still, unlike Saturday’s blowout loss to San Diego State, this one was a battle until the closing minutes. Wyoming used a 13-0 run late in the first half to take a 29-19 lead, then fought off one Lobo comeback try after another.

“It felt like a one- or two-possession game until the very end,” Legerski said. “I’m just glad it never quite got there.”

Wyoming led 29-22 at halftime and extended the lead to 53-37 midway through the second half. Mileto and Woodward combined to hit three 3-pointers during a 14-4 Cowgirls surge.

The Lobos responded behind Vaughn and Halasz, cutting the deficit to 60-50. A crowd of 6,079 began to get energized when Lobo Bryce Owens then stole a perimeter pass and raced for a breakaway layup – only to miss.

Whitney Johnson later scored inside to get the Lobos within eight points with 5:30 remaining, but that’s as close as they would get.

Fallon Lewis was fouled grabbing one of Wyoming’s 16 offensive rebounds and hit both free throws to spark a clinching 8-0 run. The Cowgirls were 16-for-24 from the foul line; UNM finished 4-for-7.

Along with rebounding, chemistry and experience were keys for Wyoming. While the Lobos employed a first-time starting lineup, Legerski started the same five players he’s used in every game this season and most of 2011-12. The Cowgirls did not graduate anyone from last season’s team.

“Wyoming is a veteran team,” Sanchez said, “and Joe knows what to do with a veteran team.”

What the Cowgirls did best was execute their screen-happy offense and rebound, getting 40 points in the paint.

“Throughout the whole game they out-rebounded us,” UNM’s Antiesha Brown said. “They got a lot of second-chance points (17), which is something we need to work on.”

Sanchez agreed, but said her team’s primary focus moving forward must be defense.

“We’re not a big scoring team,” she said. “We can’t give up 72 points and try to outscore people. We have to defend the heck out of people to be successful.”

After back-to-back losses to two of the MWC’s top contenders, the Lobos now face road games against two lesser opponents. UNM visits Nevada on Saturday and travels to Air Force next Wednesday.

NOTE: Wyoming senior Brenna Freeze, a La Cueva High grad, did not play Wednesday. Freeze was not injured, but Legerski used just eight players.
WYOMING 72, NEW MEXICO 54 FG FT RebWYO Min M-A M-A O-T A F PtsWoodward 35 9-18 1-2 0-7 2 2 20Sickles 29 1-5 1-2 0-4 1 1 3Sewell 32 5-14 7-8 7-12 2 3 17Gorrell 25 1-3 0-2 1-6 3 1 2Mileto 40 6-13 3-3 1-3 2 2 18Lewis 18 1-3 2-2 2-5 2 1 4Landry 15 2-5 2-5 1-5 1 1 6Boehme 6 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 2Totals 200 26-64 16-24 12-42 13 11 72Percentages: FG .406, FT .667.3-Point Goals: 4-14, .286 (Mileto 3-6, Woodward 1-4, Sickles 0-3, Gorrell 0-1).Team Rebounds: 8.Blocked Shots: 6 (Sickles 3, Sewell 2, Woodward).Turnovers: 11 (Woodward 2, Gorrell 2, Mileto 2, Lewis 2, Landry 2, Boehme).Steals: 9 (Woodward 5, Landry 2, Gorrell, Mileto). FG FT RebUNM Min M-A M-A O-T A F PtsJohnson 13 2-5 0-0 1-3 0 2 4Vaughn 19 6-15 0-2 3-7 1 3 13Owens 33 3-12 0-0 0-2 1 0 6Halasz 36 4-10 4-5 0-6 6 0 12Durbin 34 3-10 0-0 2-7 2 3 7Shumpert 7 2-3 0-0 1-1 0 3 4Erskine 19 0-2 0-0 2-5 0 1 0Brown 19 4-9 0-0 0-1 1 3 8Jackson 7 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0Nnaji 13 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 3 0Totals 200 24-67 4-7 9-32 13 18 54Percentages: FG .358, FT .571.3-Point Goals: 2-8, .250 (Durbin 1-1, Vaughn 1-2, Brown 0-1, Owens 0-4).Team Rebounds: 3.Blocked Shots: 8 (Erskine 3, Johnson 2, Vaughn 2, Halasz).Turnovers: 11 (Owens 5, Brown 2, Johnson, Halasz, Durbin, Jackson).Steals: 8 (Brwon 2, Durbin 2, Vaughn, Owens, Halasz, Erskine).Wyoming 29 43-72New Mexico 22 32-54A-6,079.JIM THOMPSON/JOURNALUNM’s Sara Halasz, right, defends Wyoming’s Chaundra Sewell during the Cowgirls’ 72-54 victory over the Lobos.New Problems Arise in LossRebounding, Defense Poor vs. WyomingSee COWGIRLS on PAGE D4Cowgirls Beat Up Lobosfrom PAGE D1JIM THOMPSON/JOURNALUNM’s Jourdan Erskine (14) blocks Chaundra Sewell’s shot during the Wyoming’s 72-54 win over the Lobos on Wednesday in the Pit.

WYOMING 72, NEW MEXICO 54
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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