University of Nevada at Las Vegas All-American candidate forward Linda Frîhlich scored 32 points in the Rebels' 75-70 win over the UNM women's basketball team in Las Vegas Saturday.
The loss dropped the Lobos to 5-5 in Mountain West Conference play, tied for fifth place with San Diego State University, and 14-10 overall. UNLV is now 6-5 in conference play, 16-7 overall.
"I was not disappointed with this loss, you never like losing, but I think this team worked hard and adjusted to keep the game close and that's important," UNM head coach Don Flanagan said during his post-game radio show. "I never want to get them down when they are already down. This is a loss I am willing to take on the road because it was against a good team and our group really worked hard."
UNLV led 43-37 at the break and by as many as 11 points in the second half, but UNM made a solid push down the stretch, using a 12-4 run to trim the Rebels' lead to 60-57.
After UNLV increased the lead back up to seven, the Lobos responded at the free-throw line, making six straight free throws to close the gap to 68-65 with 2:46 to play.
Frîhlich then hit a 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining that seemed to bury UNM's chances, but forward Miranda Sanchez answered immediately with a 3-pointer to keep the Lobos alive.
With the clock winding down, UNM's Nikki Heckroth sank two free throws to pull her club within one at 71-70, but the Lobos could not get any closer.
Frîhlich was fouled on the ensuing inbound play. She missed the front end of a one-and-one, but grabbed her own rebound and was fouled again immediately by center Jordan Adams. She then hit both free throws to put UNLV up 73-70. UNM could not score again and UNLV hit two more free throws to seal the win.
Along with her game-high 32 points to go with 11 rebounds, Frîhlich also played strong defense, tallying six block and two steals and holding UNM's leading scorer, Adams, to just two field goals on the night. Adams finished with 10 points and was the team's high rebounder with five. She also earned three blocks.
Flanagan recruited Frîhlich and said she has developed into one of the best players in the conference since deciding to attend UNLV.
"She played really well, and I am sure she was looking for redemption after their loss in The Pit," he said. "You can't say enough about the way she plays and how athletic a team UNLV is, so it's a split in conference play I'm willing to take."
The game was delayed five times in the first half when the scoreboard clock kept going out. Both teams were bothered as fast breaks were called off when the officials noticed the clock was off.
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The Lobos tried several lineups because guard Molly McKinnon did not start after suffering a bruised hip against San Diego State University Thursday. It was the first time she did not start this season, but she came off the bench to score two key baskets during UNM's second-half rally.
Susan Bocock came off the bench in the second half and hit a 3-pointer that brought UNM to within four points with 8:58 to go, and freshman Lauren McLeod replaced McKinnon at her starting spot and hit two 3-pointers in the second half and had four free throws down the stretch. McLeod finished as UNM's game-high scorer with 14 points, a personal season-high.
Sanchez wasted little time moving into fifth place on the Lobos all-time scoring list, laying the ball in underneath the basket with 19:38 remaining in the first half. The basket gave her a career 1,143, passing former guard Sonya Bryant on the scoring list. Sanchez finished the game with 13 points.
The Lobos' next game will be at home Thursday against Colorado State University at 7 p.m.