After a close and painful loss to Nevada, New Mexico women’s head basketball coach Yvonne Sanchez is running out of things to relate back to her squad.
“Going into the locker room and saying the same thing over and over and over again, you just run out of things to say,” she said. “We didn’t finish, we didn’t get the job done, and that’s pretty much the bottom line.”
UNM (9-18, 4-12 MW) faltered late in a 60-55 loss against the Wolf Pack (16-11, 11-5 MW) at The Pit on Saturday.
In yet another loss that was decided by two possessions or less, Sanchez said her team is not learning from previous mistakes, which is damaging the team’s ability to accumulate wins.
Sanchez said she is not looking to direct blame toward the misfortune of having four players on the bench with injuries.
“Injuries are a part of the game,” she said. “I think that with the players we have, we can win games. It’s just frustrating.”
She stated, however, that the inability to learn from previous mistakes has become an issue that no one has been able to solve.
The Lobos have lost eight of their last 10 games, all of which were by six points or fewer.
“We turn the ball over way too much,” Sanchez said. “We haven’t done a good job learning how to finish the game.”
Saturday’s game started off well for UNM, which held Nevada to only 28 percent from the field in the first half. Though they held a 24-21 lead at halftime, the Lobos squandered it with a cold spell to start the second half, allowing Nevada to control the pace for the majority of the game’s remainder.
“It’s the same mistakes that we are making,” guard Antiesha Brown said. “Whenever we are able to switch gears and really apply those things to the court, I think we will start winning games.”
Brown said many of the turnovers occur when individuals are being too selfless, leading to sloppy turnovers. UNM had 20 turnovers on the night.
“It’s a good sign that we are being unselfish, trying to get each other the ball,” Brown said. “A lot of our turnovers are trying to make that extra pass.”
After tying the game up at 33 apiece, Nevada went on a 10-2 run, taking advantage of an abundance of errant passes by UNM.
However, the Lobos kept their composure, going on their own 10-2 surge. Yet just after catching the Wolf Pack, UNM found itself down by seven points again.
UNM answered Nevada’s late seven-point run with another spark, scoring eight straight points to take the lead with just 1:31 remaining.
The Lobos and Wolf Pack traded leads two more times, leaving UNM ahead 55-54 with under a minute remaining.
In the final minute of the game the Lobos lost control and went cold from the field, while Nevada guard Arielle Wideman made six consecutive free throws for the 60-55 victory.