FEATURE PHOTO: The Lobos’ Jaisa Nunn (44) had a big third quarter to help New Mexico bury Northern Arizona 84-55. (Courtesy/GoLobos.com)
By George Hronich
For Enchantment Sports
The New Mexico women’s basketball team got off to another slow start on Saturday (Dec. 8), but that little in the end. The Lobos won at Northern Arizona 84-55 for their sixth straight win.
After a Jaisa Nunn bucket for the first two points of game, the Lobos’ slow starts seemed to be taking shape again. Northern Arizona jumped out to a 13-7 lead on its home court before the Lobos (7-1) finished the first quarter on a run for a 19-16 lead after the first ten minutes. Freshman Ahlise Hurst again was big in keeping Lobos in the game. She had eight points in the first quarter.
Off the bench, sophomore Jaedyn de la Cerda scored the first five points of the second quarter to build Lobo lead to 24-16. That also capped a 17-3 Lobo run that spanned the first two quarters.
(There was an interesting comment during Josh Suchon’s pregame talk with Ken Sickenger in talking about McGruder; graduate transfer Nike McClure has told Shai the only reason she is not starting and playing more is because Nike transferred in as a graduate transfer and has the experience.)
After the big run, Lobo coach Mike Bradbury subbed in his bigger seniors, but NAU (4-4) cut the lead back down to one. Senior Emily Lines, out early in year with broken finger, came in and provided a spark on the glass and hit four free throws. The Lobos went into halftime with a 37-30 lead.
The Lobos were getting ball inside to senior post Jaisa Nunn to start the third quarter. Nunn scored eight quick points, and a trey by Hurst gave the Lobos an 11-0 run four minutes into the quarter. It was 48-30 lead.
After a media timeout, Everett hit on another nice driving shot off the glass and Lines hit a 3. The Lobos built 60-39 lead going into final stanza. Jaisa scored 12 in the period.
Jaedyn, who finished with nine points off the bench, scored on a lay up just after the start of the fourth quarter. After NAU scored, the Lobos went on a 7-0 run for a 69-42 lead. The last five minutes, Bradbury played his bench. Brea Matthew continued to play well with a few rebounds and finishing a couple shots. Another good second half as the Lobos outscored NAU 47-25.
After only six points and no rebounds in first half, Nunn finishes with 20 and three rebounds after her dominant third quarter. The Lobos were losing the rebounding battle by four at the half, but were plus-14 in the dominant second half. That is a stat that shows how the intensity picked up after half time.
Listening to post game show, Bradbury said Aisia Robertson, who came into the game leading the nation in assists, has been sick. Robertson played 22 minutes and finished with 10 points and six assists. The two starting freshmen wings had another good day; Everett six points, seven assists and five boards, and Hurst finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. Defensively, McClure was a presence in the paint with a pair of blocks and eight rebounds.
The last couple recruiting classes continue to show versatility and quickness. With McClure and McGruder joining Nunn and Anderson inside, there are fewer mismatches inside. The length and quickness in the back court is helping the defense improve. I plan on having something fairly soon on the recruiting job this staff has done. A fun team to watch and my hope is for attendance to start going up for this group.
The Lobos next game is at New Mexico State on Dec. 15 at 2 p.m.
George Hronich, a longtime fan and close follower of the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team, is covering the squad this season for Enchantment Sports. If you have any feedback, tips or story ideas for George, please email him at EnchantmentSportsNM@gmail.com.