ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Miranda Sanchez scored 23 points and New Mexico took advantage of Houston's shooting problems in the first half to take a 72-49 win Thursday in an opening round game of the Women's National Invitational tournament.
New Mexico (19-12) scored the game's first 11 points and closed out the first half with a 12-0 run. Houston missed its first 14 shots and got its first field goal on a layup by Nicole Oliver with 9:50 left in the opening half.
The Cougars' first points came on a pair of free throws by Norma Noel with 11:48 left in the opening half.
Houston (19-13) trailed 30-13 at halftime after hitting just 5 of 25 shots, but cut the deficit to 42-32 by hitting eight of its first 12 shots in the second half.
The Cougars again were within 10 points after Cathy Lida hit a 3-pointer with 9:56 left. Sanchez hit a 3-pointer and the Lobos later went on a 7-0 run for a 58-40 lead.
ShaRonda Lasseter led Houston with 10 points.
Sanchez hit 8 of 17 shots and had four 3-pointers. Jordan Adams added 15 points for New Mexico.
The Lobos play Arizona in a second round game Saturday in Albuquerque. Arizona beat Pepperdine in another first round game Thursday.