Experience won out over emotion in Las Vegas.
New Mexico won its fifth Mountain West Conference title in six seasons Saturday behind 22 points from Brandi Kimble and 21 from fellow senior Dionne Marsh of Flower Mound as the fourth-seeded Lobos fended off sixth-seeded San Diego State 62-59.
The Aztecs (18-13), who upset TCU on Friday, gave a valiant effort for their third upset in this tournament. They were playing with heavy hearts following the death of 60-year-old Helen Kanavel, the team’s administrative assistant who was killed in a traffic accident Friday night.
“We kept her in our minds and just kind of wanted to take into consideration all the support she showed our team,” said Allison Duffy, who led San Diego State with 15 points. “It was more like we just wanted to put it out there and play as hard as we could because we knew she wouldn’t want us to give up in the end, not to let that get us down, so ... I think that pushed us even harder to play hard.”
Quenese Davis, whose basket after she threw an inbounds pass off the back of a TCU player was the game-winner Friday, had a long 3-pointer to get the Aztecs within 60-59 with 11 seconds remaining. Her deep 3 at the buzzer hit the glass, then iron, but bounced away.