PHOTO: The Lobos’ Jaedyn De La Cerda (23) had 21 points in Saturday’s UNM win at New Mexico State. (Courtesy of GoLobos.com).
By George Hronich
For Enchantment Sports
What can this Lady Lobo team do to avoid such slow starts?
Making some shots, would certainly help. But as long as they eventually start falling, the wins could keep piling up.
On Saturday, the host New Mexico State Aggies used an early 9-0 run and led 11-5 at first media timeout. But after yet another rough start, New Mexico eventually pounded the Aggies 75-50 for a sweep of their season series.
The Lobos (8-1) were getting a lot of offensive rebounds — eight in first period — but unable to convert second and third chances. At one point, the Lobos were shooting 2-of-18. The NMSU Aggies were shooting a good percentage but turnovers, ten in the quarter, kept the team from Las Cruces from having a bigger lead than the 15-10 score at the end of the opening quarter. UNM’s Jaedyn de la Cerda came off the bench and scored four points late in the quarter.
The Aggies defense was playing to keep the ball away from Jaisa Nunn but other players could not make shots.
In the second quarter, Madi Washington came off the bench to hit a shot, Nunn got a couple inside looks, Aisia Robertson got a steal and a breakaway for an 8-0 Lobo run to give the Lobos an 18-16 lead.
Defensive quickness by the Lobos forcing several Aggie turnovers so far in the game. Lobos at the time were still only 8-of-30 from the field. A Brooke Salas layup tied the game, then she scored four more to put the Aggies back up by four. Lobos then went on a 10-0 run to go back ahead 28-22. Run was sparked by five points and good defense by freshman Jayla Everett
Brooke Salas scored again to cut the Lobo lead to 30-24. A late trey by the Aggies and a free throw by de la Cerda put score at 31-27 at the half. Jaedyn missed one of the two after Everett, who came in shooting 92 percent at the line, also missed two.
First half keys were poor shooting by the Lobos, both from the field (13-of-43) and from downtown (0-for-11). The Lobos also were only went 5-11 from the line.
NMSU’s Gia Pack, who scored 59 points in the last two games against the Lobos, did not score in the first half. Brooke Salas had 14 of the Aggies 27. Lobos quick point guard Aisia Robertson scored five points but only played nine minutes. She did commit two early fouls and maybe was not feeling well fighting a stomach virus. The Aggies could not slow Robertson down in the first meeting. Nunn scored nine and de la Cerda seven to lead the Lobos.
Third quarter starts with a Salas bucket. Another slow shooting Lobo start and Gia Pack hitting a 3 tied the game up at 34. Everett banked in a 3 to put Lobos back ahead. After teams traded some buckets, going into media time out Lobos held a 41-38 lead. After things were stuck at 43-40 for a couple minutes, de la Cerda scored a quick five points on a trey and lay up after a Robertson steal. Another steal and lay up by Jaedyn gave her nine consecutive points and a 10 point Lobo lead. A Robertson free throw ended a strong finish of the third quarter with the Lobos ahead 51-40. The Lobos were 2-of-3 on treys and 6-of-8 on free throws in the third.
The Lobos pulled away in the fourth quarter. A layup by senior Nike McClure gave Lobos a 59-44 lead with five minutes left in game. Madi Washinton hit a 3 to add to the bench scoring and up the lead to 18.
After the 15-10 first quarter, the Lobos outscored the Aggies 65-35 the last three quarters. At times not one of those pretty games, but the quickness on this Lobo team can go on some quick scoring spurts and get some separation. That quickness was a large part of 28 turnovers committed by NMSU.
Another game with important contributions from the bench and young players. Freshman Jayla Everett scored ten points to go along with four rebounds and two steals. The other freshman starter, Ahlise Hurst did not score but played very good defense and had four steals. Sophomores off the bench were big today. Jaedyn de la Cerda scored 21 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals. Fellow soph back court mate Madi Washington, after missing the last two games due to injury, scored eight points. Antonia Anderson had five points and five boards. Senior Jaisa Nunn was strong in the paint grabbing 16 rebounds, 11 of those on the offensive glass. Nunn also scored 15 points and probably upset with herself for not scoring more missing several put backs. A good win on the road.
Next for the Lobos is their invitational tournament. Wednesday night the Lobos will play Sacramento St., a team that likes to run n gun. They average shooting over 40 three pointers a game. The Hornets are averaging 86 points a game, the Lobos about 80 so we could have a very high scoring game. Sacramento State is 3-3 on the year with one of the wins being a 109-107 victory over Illinois, showing their scoring capabilities. Have heard comparison of wanting to play like Paul Westhead’s Loyola Marymount teams. The other two teams facing each other Wednesday are Stephen F. Austin and Hampton. With Christmas break coming, hope to see a lot of families out to support the Lady Lobos.
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.
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