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TMCNet:  Lobos Nip Texas Tech

[November 16, 2012]

Lobos Nip Texas Tech

Nov 16, 2012 (Albuquerque Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Just another early season game Forget about it.

Members of the University of New Mexico women's basketball team jumped and whooped all the way up the Pit ramp Thursday night, fully enjoying an impressive 65-61 victory over rival Texas Tech.

Deeva Vaughn's first career double-double and Bryce Owens' 3-point dagger with 28 seconds left highlighted a rare Lobos victory over the Lady Raiders. Tech still leads the series 13-3.

That domination and a pair of blowout losses the past two seasons helped explain the Lobos' jubilation and a postgame roar from an appreciative Pit crowd.

"We beat Tech," Vaughn said when asked about her team's emotional response. "That was one of our goals for the season, to beat Tech. It feels really good." Vaughn played a huge role, coming off the bench to rack up 15 points, 10 rebounds, a block and three steals in 29 minutes.

Every bit as big was the perfor- mance of Owens, who had 15 points, four assists and a steal. The freshman point guard also swished the game's biggest shot.

With UNM nursing a 59-56 lead in the final minute, Texas Tech's defense swarmed both Caroline Durbin and Sara Halasz on an inbounds play. Owens came open right of the free-throw circle, set herself and fired.

The 3-pointer gave the Lobos a six-point lead with 28 seconds left.

"I don't think I've hit a more intense shot in my life," Owens said.

"I didn't even want to smile. I just told myself, 'Get back, play defense and don't think about it.' I did clap my hands a little bit, though." New Mexico (2-0) turned the ball over 22 times against the Lady Raiders' pressing defense, including seven turnovers by Owens.

But UNM forced 18 turnovers of its own, outrebounded Tech 42-33 and limited star guard Casey Morris to two points.

All in all, it was enough to bring a smile to Lobos coach Yvonne Sanchez's face.

"That was a lot of fun," Sanchez said. "We beat a team from a terrific conference, a really good team that's going to win 20 games this season. A win like this is important." UNM led by as many as nine points in the second half, but never held a comfortable advantage until the final seconds. Paced by Monique Smalls' 22 points, Texas Tech managed to answer every Lobos run.

The Lady Raiders hit just 2-of-14 from 3-point range but stayed close by attacking the glass and marching to the foul line. Tech was 19-for-30 from the stripe, earning 13 more attempts than the home team.

"We weren't containing the drive well at all," Sanchez said. "We were just a step late and kept sending them to the line. They were good calls." Cibola High grad Amber Battle was among Tech's successful drivers, finishing with 12 points, three blocks and three steals in her first collegiate game in Albuquerque.

But this night belonged to the Lobos, who got contributions from 10 players.

Durbin finished with 11 points and six rebounds, while Halasz chipped in 10 points, seven boards and three assists. UNM got 25 points from its reserves.

It was a far cry from the past two seasons, when Texas Tech simply wore the Lobos out and won twice by 27- and 26-point margins.

The Lobos showed early they would not end up as roadkill this time. When Smalls' 3-pointer gave the Lady Raiders a 27-24 lead, Durbin quickly answered with a pull-up 3.

UNM led 33-30 at halftime, but it remained nip and tuck until an Owens steal and layup sparked an 9-2 Lobo run to 55-46 with 7:56 remaining.

"Bryce played fearless," Sanchez said.

NOTE: UNM fans held their collective breath in the first half when freshman Khadijah Shumpert went to the floor clutching her knee after a collision. Shumpert returned in the second half, however, with what Sanchez described as a bad bruise. Sunday Houston Baptist at UNM, 1 p.m. 610 AM Online Visit ABQjournal. com/sports for a slide show.

___ (c)2012 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) Visit the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) at www.abqjournal.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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