Air Force women's basketball falls to New Mexico 57-49
Air Force women’s basketball attempt at its first-ever road win at New Mexico came up just short in a 57-49 setback at New Mexico Saturday afternoon at Dreamstyle Arena-The Pit. Freshman Emily Conroe led three Falcons in double-figures, with a team-high 15 points.
In a game that featured 14 lead changes, the game turned on a four-point play with 5:24 left in regulation. With Air Force nursing a 48-46 lead, New Mexico guard Laneah Bryan was fouled on a made three-point basket. She made the free throw to put New Mexico up for good at 50-48. The Lobos out-scored the Falcons 11-1 the rest of the way out. Air Force is now winless in 21 tries at The Pit.
The Falcons made it extremely difficult early on for the top offense in the Mountain West, holding the Lobos--who average 83.8 points per game--to just five made field goals in the first half. Air Force led for most of the first half, building up as big as an eight point lead. The teams played to a 25-25 tie at halftime.
New Mexico out-scored the Falcons 17-14 in the third quarter to go up 42-39. Conroe nearly willed Air Force to the win in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 consecutive points. Her three with 7:22 to play, gave the Falcons a 46-44 lead.
Air Force went up four points on another Conroe bucket. New Mexico began its comeback on a bucket by Jaisa Nunn to pull to within two. Bryan then was fouled on the made three.
In addition to her 15 points, Conroe had five rebounds and a blocked shot. Senior Erika Chapman added 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Freshman Kaelin Immel added 10 points and three boards.
Senior Dee Bennett led Air Force with nine rebounds and three blocked shots, adding six points. Senior Cortney Porter had four points, four rebound and four assists.
Nunn led New Mexico with 25 points and eight rebounds. Cherise Beynon added 15 points and five assists.
"I thought we’ve been playing like we’ve been playing--which is with great effort and strong defense--like this the last few games, but we just didn’t get some breaks at the end," Air Force head coach Chris Gobrecht said. "We had several of our starters in foul trouble and it would have been nice to see what we could have really done if we weren’t. The Pit is a tough place to play and we had to throw a lot of freshmen out there today. I thought we had good games from Dee Bennett, Erika Chapman and Emily Conroe."
Air Force returns to action Wednesday, Feb. 14, hosting UNLV.