The women’s basketball MWC run is over.
UNM’s fairy tale run in the MWC tournament came to an end Saturday in the final against San Diego State, 57-43.
The Lobos were the seven seed but pulled off upset wins over University of Las-Vegas and Boise State to reach the championship game, but one seeded SDSU was just too good.
“It was a tough loss,” senior forward Porche Torrance said. “ But one thing I will say is our teammates did come out, we fought till the end of the game, till the buzzer went off. We made it to the championship. Not a lot of people expected us to get this far.”
UNM had lost to SDSU by 30 and 13 earlier in the year and after 1:30 The Lobos took an early 2-0 lead.
It would be the last time they would be up in the game.
UNM wouldn’t score another point for almost eight minutes as both teams struggled early. The Lobos turned the ball over multiple times and SDSU shot just 1-13 and after six minutes SDSU had a 4-2 lead.
SDSU then blew the game open and went on a 15-2 run that included 10 offensive rebounds.
UNM battled back in the final minute of the half with senior forward Porche Torrance back-to-back blocks and closed the gap to 22-15 at half.
The 15 points scored in the first half was the lowest total in any half in MWC championship history.
“San Diego State is a very good defensive team,” head coach Yvonne Sanchez said. “You got to give them credit. They’re the No. 1 team in our conference. They’ve been from beginning to end.”
In the second half it took UNM just 53 seconds to match its scoring total for the first nine minutes of the first half after a basket and and free throw from senior guard Lauren Taylor closed the game to just six points.
Two more fouls shots from Taylor put UNM within two possessions with the score at 26-22 with 17:12 remaining.
Taylor said after getting the score down to four she thought the Lobos could come back.
“I felt like we turned the tide and had the momentum going for us,” Taylor said. “I think that picked the team up. The fans got behind us and helped us push back closer, you know, take that lead down.”
On the ensuing SDSU possession Ajhalee Harvey hit a 3-pointer to take the lead back to seven and the Aztecs went on a 12-3 to wrap up the game.
The game was the third in four days for UNM and Torrance said fatigue may have played a factor.
“I was a little tired. But I told myself, This is my last. I have to fight through the fatigue and just give it all for my teammates and hopefully we come up on top,” she said. “We were a little short today but we fought till the end and that’s what really counts.”
UNM was 13-45 shooting for the game compared to SDSU shooting 19-54. The Lobos were 2-14 from 3-point range.
Taylor led the Lobos with 14 points and Torrance added 12 points. SDSU out rebounded UNM 45-29 including 16 offensive rebounds.
Torrance also had a MWC tournament record 13 blocks in her three games and was named to the All-Tournament team.
UNM’s finishes it season 11-20.
Sanchez said being the seven seed and making the final shows how hard the team worked this season.
“They have a passion to play for the Lobos,” she said. “They wear their uniform proudly. As the fans are very passionate about our players, our players are passionate about playing for the University of New Mexico.”