Cougar Comeback Falls Short in Tournament Finale

Mallary Gillespie led the Cougar team with 17 points and was named to the All-Tournament Team in the MWC Championship game. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

LAS -- The regular-season conference champion BYU women's basketball team overcame early shooting woes and a double-digit halftime deficit, but the Cougars fell 63-49 to New Mexico in a hard-fought Mountain West Conference Tournament finale Saturday.

With the win, the Lobos will get the MWC's automatic bid in the Women's NCAA Tournament, while the Cougars will await an invitation from the tournament's selection committee.

"I'm really proud of my team," said BYU head coach Jeff Judkins. "We got down early in the game and we fought back like I knew this team would."

A bruised and bandaged BYU team trailed most of the game, but Shawnee Slade scored most of her 14 points to help mount a big second-half Cougar surge. BYU actually took the lead on a couple of occasions before UNM pulled away in the final minutes.

Mallary Gillespie led three Cougars in double figures with 17 points. Slade added 14 along with four assists off the bench. Lauren Riley finished with 10 points to go along with her career-tying 14 rebounds, for her fifth double double of the season and her career.

The two foes showed their toughness in the early going by battling to a 6-6 tie after eight minutes of play. The Lobos took a 9-6 advantage after a three-point shot from Julie Briody. The Cougars' Mallary Gillespie tied the game at nine apiece with a three-point play a short time later. From there UNM caught fire and took advantage of hot shooting from Brandi Kimball to go on a 7-0 run and take a 16-9 lead with 6:57 left in the first half.

BYU responded and cut the lead to 19-14 with 3:13 left in the half. The Lobos took advantage of some Cougar shooting woes the last part of the half and took a 27-17 advantage into the locker room. Riley led BYU with seven points at the break.

The Lobos went up 30-17 after a free throw from Dionne Marsh with 17:44 left. The Cougars were not dead though. Slade came off the bench to spark a big 7-0 run that was capped off by a big three-point bomb from Gillespie to cut the deficit to six at 30-24. A free throw from Dani Wright cut the lead down to five a short time later.

Gillespie muscled in a shot to pull BYU to 34-31. Slade hit a big shot just over 30 seconds later to put the UNM lead at one with 10:59 left.

A Gillespie layin gave the Cougars a 37-36 lead. After the Lobos' Katie Montgomery knocked down a three pointer, Riley had a three-point play to put BYU back up by one with 7:46 left.

It was a back-and-forth battle from there until UNM pulled ahead 47-42 on a pair of free throws when Wright fouled out with 5:44 remaining. Gillespie knocked down a three pointer to cut the lead to two, but the Lobos caught fire and took a six-point advantage with 3:14 left. They went up 58-47 with just over two minutes left before taking the 64-49 victory.

"We just couldn't make the plays that we had to make, where we have in the past, we just couldn't do it," added Judkins.

Marsh led UNM with a game high 20 points. Briody chipped in 14 for the Lobos.

BYU will know its post-season destiny Monday when the women's NCAA Tournament brackets are announced.

Mallary Gillespie and Lauren Riley were named to the MWC All-Tournament Team.

Official Basketball Box Score

New Mexico vs BYU

03-10-07 1 p.m. at Thomas & Mack Center - Las Vegas, Nev.

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VISITORS: New Mexico 24-8

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

15 E-NUNU, Timi........ f 0-3 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 9

33 MARSH, Dionne....... f 6-11 0-0 8-9 1 4 5 4 20 3 2 0 4 38

13 MONTGOMERY, Katie... g 5-12 1-6 2-2 0 6 6 1 13 6 1 2 3 40-

40 BRIODY, Julie....... g 5-13 2-6 2-4 2 0 2 2 14 0 1 2 0 37

41 KIMBLE, Brandi...... g 3-7 2-3 2-2 3 6 9 1 10 1 1 0 1 37

00 SASO, Morgan........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+

03 WEISSMANN, Eileen... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+

10 BEGGIN, Amy......... 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 1 2 0 0 0 1 15

11 SHELTER, Christian.. 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+

14 BALDWIN, Stephanie.. 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+

22 JACKSON, Georonika.. 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+

34 KAST, Valerie....... 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 2 0 3 0 0 3

44 HARTILL, Angela..... 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 2 2 2 3 1 0 21

TEAM................ 3 3

Totals.............. 22-50 5-16 14-17 8 24 32 12 63 13 11 5 9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-30 36.7% 2nd Half: 11-20 55.0% Game: 44.0% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-10 30.0% 2nd Half: 2-6 33.3% Game: 31.3% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 2-2 100 % 2nd Half: 12-15 80.0% Game: 82.4% 3,1

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HOME TEAM: BYU 23-9

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

45 WRIGHT, Dani........ c 2-10 0-1 1-5 4 2 6 5 5 1 2 0 1 23

52 RILEY, Lauren....... c 3-6 0-0 4-5 6 8 14 2 10 0 1 0 0 34

15 KEELE, Jennie....... g 0-4 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 5 0 2 3 2 1 30

30 GILLESPIE, Mallary.. g 7-17 2-8 1-1 1 1 2 1 17 2 4 0 0 38

35 JOHNSEN, Melinda.... g 0-4 0-1 1-2 1 1 2 2 1 2 3 0 1 31

05 CHEESMAN, Ashley.... 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 4

13 JUDKINS, Jaime...... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

22 FADDIS, Brittany.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

31 AINA, Rachel........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

32 SLADE, Shawnee...... 7-9 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 3 14 4 0 0 1 29

54 KING, Cassie........ 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 8

TEAM................ 3 4 7

Totals.............. 20-55 2-10 7-13 15 20 35 18 49 11 14 3 4 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 6-30 20.0% 2nd Half: 14-25 56.0% Game: 36.4% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 0-5 0.0% 2nd Half: 2-5 40.0% Game: 20.0% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 5-7 71.4% 2nd Half: 2-6 33.3% Game: 53.8% 1

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Officials: Marianne Karp, Randy Campbell, Chuck Gonzales

Technical fouls: New Mexico-None. BYU-KEELE, Jennie.

Attendance:

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

New Mexico.................... 27 36 - 63

BYU........................... 17 32 - 49

ID-532341

Tags: Results