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Hot Shooting Lifts Lobos Over Utes in Battle for First Place

Shona Thorburn scored 27 points Sunday, but her Utes fell to New Mexico by a tally of 70-63.

Shona Thorburn scored 27 points Sunday, but her Utes fell to New Mexico by a tally of 70-63.

Feb. 13, 2005

Final Stats |  Quotes

SALT LAKE CITY -- The University of New Mexico women's basketball team grabbed sole possession of first place in the Mountain West Conference Sunday afternoon at the Huntsman Center. The Lobos defeated the University of Utah by a tally of 70-63, dropping the Utes into second place in the league with five games remaining.

Field-goal shooting was the difference in the contest. New Mexico (19-3, 8-1 MWC) was red-hot from inside and outside the three-point arc. The Lobos shot 48.7 percent for the contest, including a 55.0-percent mark in the first half. New Mexico hit four-of-six (.667) from three-point range in the first half and finished nine-of-15 (.600) for the game. Meanwhile, Utah (18-6, 7-2) struggled shooting the ball. The Utes finished with a field-goal percentage of .333 and shot just 32.0 percent from behind the arc.

After trailing 30-28 at intermission, Utah pulled within one point, 32-31, on a Shona Thorburn three-pointer just 1:33 into the second half. But that's as close as the Utes would get. New Mexico was nursing a two-point advantage, 40-38, five minutes into the second half. The Lobos then went on a 16-2 over the next six minutes to take control of the contest.

In the first two minutes of the New Mexico spurt, Utah turned the ball over twice. The Lobos had pushed their lead to eight points, 46-38, before Utah even got another shot off. An Abbie Letz three-pointer gave New Mexico a double-digit advantage, 49-38. Letz hit another trey after a Utah bucket to push her team's lead to 12 points. By the time Jana Francis scored on a layup with 9:07 to play, New Mexico had a 16-point, 56-40 lead, its largest of the game.

Utah still trailed by 16 with 3:19 remaining. But the Utes would not quit. Thorburn tallied a traditional three-point play with 3:02 left. Thorburn's third three-pointer of the game trimmed Utah's deficit to single digits, 67-58, with just more than one minute remaining. The Utes pulled within seven points twice down the stretch, but it just wasn't enough.

 

 

With the victory, New Mexico won for just the first time ever at the Huntsman Center. Utah still holds a 26-1 advantage at home in the series.

Four Lobos scored in double figures, with Katie Montgomery scoring a team-high 18 points, including four three-pointers. Dionne Marsh and Letz each added 13, while Lindsey Arndt tallied 10.

Utah was paced by Thorburn's game-high 27-point effort. Kim Smith scored 18 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.

The Utes will be in action again Saturday, when they host Air Force in a 3 p.m. contest at the Huntsman Center.

-UU-

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