ALBUQUERQUE -- A hot three-point shooting effort in the first half and 31 points from sophomore All-American Erin Thorn helped the BYU women's basketball team defeat conference rival New Mexico, 79-72, Saturday night in The Pit.
The Cougars led 45-40 at halftime, thanks in part to 10 three pointers, while holding off a New Mexico rally late in the second half to earn the seven-point victory. Thorn led the Cougars, hitting 5-of-9 three pointers and 6-of-8 free throws, although it was a balanced effort for BYU. Caroline Beus had a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end. Junior point guard Stacy Jensen scored 14 points, including three three pointers, while dishing out four assists. New Mexico native Julie Whetten had a big game, hitting two three pointers and scoring a career-high 13 points, while playing 30 minutes. BYU won despite being out-shot from the field by the Lobos, 47.9 to 44.3 percent. The Cougars however shot 52.2 percent from behind the three-point line, while New Mexico shot 31.3 percent. BYU outrebounded UNM 35-34, but had four more offensive rebounds than the Lobos.
"This is probably one of the biggest wins of the year for us," head coach Trent Shippen said. "The Pit is such a tough place to play, especially against a quality team. This win is going to be a great confidence builder for us."
The win improves the Cougars record to 12-8 (4-3) on the season, while New Mexico drops to 13-8 (4-3) on the year. BYU will next play UNLV, Thursday at 7 p.m., and San Diego State, Saturday at 7 p.m. Both games will be at the Marriott Center.