Mar 5, 2011 5:49 PM by Jordan Mason
USAFA, Colo. - In a game that was close throughout, the Air Force women's basketball team fell short in a 73-70 overtime loss to New Mexico Saturday afternoon in Clune Arena.
The Lobos rallied from a five-point deficit with just under six minutes remaining in regulation, taking a 57-56 lead at the 3:22 mark. The two teams traded the next couple of baskets before a layup from Air Force senior Raimee Beck (Blackfoot, Idaho) put the Falcons up with two points with 1:14 to play. However, New Mexico's Jessica Kielpinski knocked down a pair of free throws 13 seconds later to tie the game at 61-61, and neither team was able to score again in regulation, sending the game into overtime.
The extra period was a battle once again between the two teams, with the score tied at 67-67 with 2:30 remaining. Beck broke the tie with just over two minutes to play, knocking down her only three-pointer of the game. However, New Mexico's Jasmine Patterson hit a pair of layups in the final minute, including one off a turnover with 13 seconds remaining, to take the lead. With one last chance to get the win, Air Force committed another costly turnover, this time with just one second left, as the Lobos knocked down a pair of free throws on the other end to earn the victory.
Sophomore Dymond James (Brambleton, Va.) led a solid effort by the Falcons, registering her sixth double-double of the season with a career-high 26 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. Alicia Leipprandt (So., Ubly, Mich.) added a career-best 24 points, including six of the Falcons' nine points in overtime.
Beck, playing the final home game of her career, added eight points and nine rebounds, while New Mexico native Megan Muniz (So., Rio Rancho, N.M.) grabbed a career-best eight rebounds and dished out a career-high-tying seven assists.
For the Lobos, senior Amanda Best had a stellar game, finishing with 20 points and 21 rebounds, while Patterson and Kielpinski added 16 and 15 points, respectively.
The Falcons end the regular season with an 8-21 overall record and 3-13 mark in the Mountain West Conference. Meanwhile, the Lobos go into the MWC tournament with an 11-17 overall mark and 5-11 ledger in the conference. New Mexico clinched the seventh seed in this year's tournament with the victory, while Air Force will go into the conference championships as either the eighth or ninth seed.
Air Force will head to Las Vegas, Nev., next week for the 2011 Conoco Mountain West Conference Basketball Championships, which are being held March 8-12. The Falcons will play their first-round game on Tuesday at either 2:00 p.m. (PT) or 4:30 p.m.