RIO RANCHO, N.M. -- New Mexico is headed to the quarterfinals of the Women's National Invitation Tournament thanks in part to two first-year players.
Sara Halasz came off the bench to score a season-high 17 points and fellow freshman Lauren Taylor sank a key 3-pointer as the Lobos beat Oregon State 61-56 Friday night in a third-round NIT game.
New Mexico (25-10) advances to play Kansas (20-13) in the quarterfinals here Monday night.
Halasz said Lobos coach Don Flanagan "told me to be aggressive and I tried to bring that to the team and everything started falling."
She had 14 of her points in the first half that ended in a 29-29 tie despite the Lobos going the last seven minutes without a field goal.
Oregon State (20-12) opened the second half with a 6-2 run before Angela Hartill and Taylor both hit 3-pointers to put New Mexico ahead to stay at 46-43 with 7:58 remaining.
"I thought our other freshman, Lauren, did a good job of hitting that three," Flanagan said.
Hartill finished with 15 points and Amy Beggin 13 for the Lobos.
Brittney Davis led the Beavers with 19 points.
Oregon State ran into foul trouble in the second half, collecting seven in the first seven minutes, with center Alex Mitchell getting her fourth at the 13:12 mark.
Mitchell fouled out with 3:39 left after scoring just four points, seven below her season average.
The Lobos made 19 of their 26 free throws while the Beavers were 7-of-8 from the line.
"We wanted to attack them," Flanagan said. "We just felt like they would foul us every time."
"I think the telltale sign for us was the fouls and the free throws," Oregon State coach LaVonda Wagner said. "They shot 26 free throws and we only shot eight so that's the bottom line. That game was won at the free-throw line."
The game was played in Rio Rancho because New Mexico's homecourt, the Pit in Albuquerque, was previously booked for a bull-riding competition.