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Lobos clamp down to win 5th straight

BROWN: Scored last 5 points for Lobos

BROWN: Scored last 5 points for Lobos

LOGAN, Utah – Antiesha Brown saved her best for the last minute Saturday and that’s when the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team needed it most.

Brown hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 49 seconds left and later added two clinching free throws as the Lobos rallied for a 56-51 victory over Utah State. UNM (12-10, 8-3 Mountain West) earned its fifth straight win and eighth in nine games.

Brown, New Mexico’s leading scorer, finished with 11 points but had a relatively quiet six until the final minute.

“We just wanted to go inside-out on that possession,” UNM coach Yvonne Sanchez said in a postgame phone interview. “We got it inside to Khadijah (Shumpert), but they double-teamed her and she hit Antiesha with a perfect pass. Huge, huge shot by Teesh.”

As has typically been the case in matchups between the Lobos and Aggies (6-17, 3-8), Saturday’s game was remarkably tight throughout. There were 11 lead changes, the score was tied 16 times and neither team led by more than five points.

Utah State’s largest lead was four points, which it matched when Tijana Djukic hit a jumper to make the score 51-47 with 4:56 remaining. That’s when UNM’s defense took over.

lobabox8The Aggies did not score again, going 0-for-5 and turning the ball over five times down the stretch. Shumpert turned in one of the biggest defensive plays, drawing a charge on USU’s Funda Nakkasoglu that erased a basket with 3:15 remaining.

“That was a key play,” Sanchez said, “and I loved our defense the last five minutes. We didn’t give them anything easy and that gave us a chance to win the game.”

UNM struggled to score in the second half, shooting just 29 percent, but got an Alexa Chavez basket and two Cherise Beynon free throws to pull even at 51 with 1:41 left. That set the stage for Brown’s late heroics.

New Mexico led 30-27 after a sluggish first half dominated by fouls and turnovers. Utah State stayed close by going 13-for-15 from the free-throw line as the teams combined for 24 fouls. The Lobos had 10 turnovers to the Aggies’ eight.

But those trends changed after halftime. Utah State did not shoot a free throw in the second half and committed 10 turnovers, while the Lobos had just two giveaways.

Shumpert, who was double-teamed throughout much of the game, led the Lobos with 13 points and seven rebounds. Bryce Owens added 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Jasmine Porter scored 14 points and Nakkasoglu had 12 for the Aggies.

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