ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) With leading scorer Lili Thompson sidelined with an illness, Stanford turned to other scoring options.
Reserve Karlie Samuelson picked up the slack, scoring 23 points to help the No. 5 Cardinal to a 70-65 win over New Mexico on Monday night.
”I thought she played really great,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. ”She’s usually kind of our sixth player. I love her energy off the bench. You can depend on her. She started us off really well. She’s a great shooter but she’s a great competitor.”
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Samuelson had plenty of help, with Kaylee Johnson putting up 10 points and grabbing a career-best 22 rebounds to key a 50-31 Cardinal (3-1) advantage on the boards.
Amber Orrange added 18 points, including a banked-in 3-pointer from more than 30 feet at the first-half buzzer that sent the Cardinal into the break tied 35-35.
”Playing these close games is really challenging for us because we have to sub in a lot,” VanDerveer said. ”And just figure out different line ups. I just think the team is growing playing these tight game and not panicking.”
The Cardinal controlled the start of both halves, starting the game on a 16-4 run over the first five minutes. And Stanford opened the second half with a 14-2 run over the first five minutes to take a 49-37 lead. But in both halves, New Mexico (0-4) rallied to take the lead, going ahead 27-26 with 5:12 left in the first half behind a 21-4 run and taking its final lead 65-64 with 45.9 seconds left following a 12-1 run.
Fifteen seconds later Johnson was fouled and made her two free throws to give Stanford the lead.
Antiesha Brown had a chance to put New Mexico back in front, but she missed her two free throws. The Lobos were 7 for 16 from the line. Bonnie Samuelson then followed with two more free throws to seal the win. Bryce Owens scored 16 points and Cherise Beynon added 14 for the Lobos.
It was a bitter loss for New Mexico, coach Yvonne Sanchez said.
”That was a tough one,” she said. ”We prepared for it. We didn’t think that we were going to walk away from here with a loss. We prepared to win. We did everything to prepare. And that’s how you have to face teams like this.”
In its first home game of the season, New Mexico drew 6,594 in a ”Pack the Pit” promotion that included $2 tickets for all seats.
Stanford faces North Carolina on Friday in the opener of the Rainbow Wahine Shootout in Honolulu, Hawaii.
New Mexico: The Lobos play Boston University at home on Saturday in the first game of the New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament.
LINING IT UP:
Although Stanford hit its final six foul shots the Cardinal had gone 6-of-11 from the line prior to the final minute to help let New Mexico get back into the game.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT:
With Alexa Romano, a local Stanford verbal commitment, in attendance, VanDerveer was ready to slip her into uniform. ”We were down a guard tonight and I was ready to go out in the stands and have her put her shoes on.”