FRESNO, Calif. – The hole proved just a bit too deep for the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team Saturday.
Fresno State withstood a furious Lobos comeback and held on for a 69-65 Mountain West Conference victory at the Save Mart Center. It was the 18th straight home victory for the Bulldogs (10-5, 2-0), while UNM dropped its fourth straight on the road.
Fresno shot the lights out for much of the game and seemed ready to coast to a comfortable win. The Bulldogs led 40-29 at halftime and stretched it to 58-41 midway through the second half.
Boise State at New Mexico, 7 p.m., 610 AM
New Mexico (8-7, 0-2) suddenly caught fire, however. Caroline Durbin, Bryce Owens and Antiesha Brown scored all the visitors’ points during a 16-2 tear that cut Fresno’s lead to 60-57 with 4:17 left. The Lobos stayed in striking distance to the end. It was 68-65 when Deeva Vaughn hit a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds left.
But the Bulldogs was 5-for-6 on free throws in the final 30 seconds to keep the lead. UNM hurt its cause at the foul line, going 3-for-8 from the line.
Unlike Wednesday, when the Lobos played poorly in a loss at UNLV, Lobo coach Yvonne Sanchez was proud of the way her team battled Saturday. New Mexico outrebounded Fresno State 42-25.
“Our players left everything out there today,” Sanchez said in a postgame phone interview. “We’re still a young team, and we stood up and battled a veteran group that I believe is the best team in our conference right now. I don’t like moral victories, but I loved our fight. We got better today.”
UNM made progress on its turnover problems: After giving the ball away 12 times in the first half the Lobos had just four in the second.
Durbin paced four Lobos in double figures with 16 points, but it was Owens who sparked UNM’s comeback. The freshman point guard scored all of her 13 points after halftime and finished with seven rebounds, seven assists and just one turnover.
Brown chipped in 12 points, and Vaughn had 11 for the New Mexico.
— This article appeared on page D4 of the Albuquerque Journal