Featured photo: Lobo Aisia Robertson, right, and Aggie Rodrea Echols, left. (Courtesy of GoLobos.com)
By George Hronich
For Enchantment Sports
An intense 10-minute stretch in the first half propelled the UNM women’s basketball Lobos to a 20-point lead, and the ladies cruised to an 83-58 win against visiting New Mexico State on Saturday afternoon at the Pit.
About midway through the first quarter the Lobos held a 15-12 advantage, then reeled off the final 13 points of the period. New Mexico made it a 45-25 lead at half time. Senior post Jaisa Nunn had 11 points and eight rebounds in the first 20 minutes while freshman Ahlise Hurst added three treys. Aisia Robertson dished out a few assists and kept the turnovers low.
Before the second half started, things didn’t go so well for the Lobos. Robertson got sick and was bent over a trash can behind the bench. Coach Mike Bradbury started Jaedyn de la Cerda Robertson’s place to start the half.
I don’t know if that threw off the rhythm of the team, or it was a loss of intensity after going to the locker room with a 20 point lead. But NMSU began cutting the lead down a little behind Aggie junior guard Gia Pack, a very good player brought in by the previous head coach Mark Trakh.
Pack finished with 26 points as the Lobos had a hard time matching up with her. The Aggies had the deficit down to 15 several times in the third quarter but were unable to take advantage of a few opportunities to cut further into the lead.
After Aisia was able to come back into the game, she was able to drive and score on layups to keep the Lobos’ 15-point lead safe when it appeared the Aggies might be close to gaining momentum.
The fourth quarter was a continuation of the third as the Lobos were able to maintain a 15-to-18 point lead. With about four minutes left in the game, Bradbury put in the freshmen who have not played much the last couple games. Shai McGruder, 6-foot-1 freshman, had a steal and went coast-to-coast. Brea Matthews, who saw spot time during the game, had a nice driving layup, and Quincy Noble was able to get in the scoring column. Those three freshmen showed the potential depth of the team with the athleticism. They brought the energy the starters seemed to have lost some of the second half.
Robertson led the team with 23 points and six assists, Nunn had another double-double with 13 points and 10 boards. Hurst had 11 points. Her 3-point shooting in the two games this week was 12-of-26. Combined with her performance against Oklahoma, Hurst gives the Lobos a chance at a third straight MWC player of the week honor. Antonia Anderson had another strong game off the bench with eight points and five rebounds.
It was a good win, with an announced crowd of about 5,300. I was hoping for more for the rivalry game, but there were a couple of hundred more than Wednesday in the 84-80 win against Oklahoma. As the year goes on and Lobos keep playing good ball, my hope is more fans keep coming back.