By Matthew Lofton
NMHU Sports Information
The New Mexico Highlands University women’s basketball team (5-5, 2-5 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) built a 10-point lead in the second half and junior Jenny Johnson made a lay-up with six seconds remaining as the Cowgirls upended Metro State (3-7, 2-4 RMAC) 72-70 Friday at the Wilson Complex.
Tied at 70 with one minute left, Highlands ran more than 20 seconds off the clock before senior China Smith drew a shooting foul with 30 seconds left. Smith missed both freebies but grabbed her own board and flipped the ball to Johnson. Johnson ran the clock under seven, driving by her defender for the go-ahead lay-up with 6.5 seconds left. The Roadrunners’ Cassie Lambrecht missed a wild, contested jumper on the other end of the court and senior Brittany Neeley secured the loose ball and the Cowgirls win.
The Cowgirls built a 10-point lead thanks to making their first six triples of the second half, finishing the stanza with a 6-7 mark. Senior Alyssa Lopez knotted the game at 37 in the second half, and started a 14-2 Highlands run, with a triple with 18:28 left in the game. Neeley then hit the only inside shot of the Cowgirls’ run. Sophomore Leisha Crawford joined the three-point parade followed by a pair of three-pointers by Johnson around a Metro State lay-up. Highlands led 48-39 with 16:01, scoring 14 points in less than 2.5 minutes.
The Cowgirls were able to flex its muscles on the boards with a 37-25 edge on the board. Smith recorded a game-high 13 boards, including six offensive boards herself. Metro State had six offensive rebounds as a team.
Lopez came off the bench to lead Highlands with a game-best 17 points. Johnson contributed 15 points while Crawford had 11.
Roadrunners 86, Cowboys 55
Later Friday, the Cowboys (6-5, 3-4 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) fell to No. 5 nationally ranked Metropolitan State University of Denver (9-1, 6-0 RMAC). The Cowboys fall to eighth place in the Rocky Mountain Athletics Conference.
The Cowboys fell behind early when Metro State hit a pair from behind the arc and completed an old-fashioned three-point play to go up 9-0.
Senior Stuart Sullivan capped a second-half run with a jumper as Highlands trailed 58-43 with 13:04 left. Sullivan came off the bench to lead the Cowboys with 16 points – including 12 in the first half. Sullivan becomes the third Cowboy to average double-digit points per game.