By George Hronich
For Enchantment Sports Fan-demonium
The UNM Lobo women’s basketball team totally dominated the second half and crushed Sacramento State 85-53 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Lobo Invite at the Pit.
The Lady Lobos held a 35-34 with four minutes left in the first half, then picked up the defensive intensity and used quickness and length to outscore the Hornets 50-19 the rest of the way.
Sacramento St. came into the game averaging about 86 points a games and is a team that likes to run and gun. The first quarter started with both teams playing fast and had the looks of being a high-scoring game.
The Hornets made a few treys in the opening quarter, but had no answer to slow down junior Lobo point guard Aisia Robertson, who was able to drive inside at will. Robertson had 11-first half points and five assists.
Senior post Nike McClure, who passed up some inside shots, had four early points. The Lobos’ quickness was evident early, as Sacramento took its full-court press defense off in the first half.
Freshman guard Jayla Everett was big again with 18 points and two assists. She again showed a good basketball IQ. When Sacramento St. went to a zone defense, she found the soft spot in the middle of the zone and was able to score easily or set up easy baskets.
The Lobos had trouble finishing some shots inside early, or may have built a more comfortable lead earlier in the game. UNM’s Jaisa Nunn and Antonia Anderson usually finish shots around the rim, but had several roll off the rim.
The defense on this year’s Lobo team has ignited several big runs. McClure gets her teammates, coaches and the fans excited with her shot-blocking ability. She had five blocks in this game, including two against 3-point shooters who each appeared to have good looks.
On Wednesday night, again we saw a lot of deflections that led to turnovers and fast breaks. Shai McGruder, the freshman who sparks a lot of excitement when she comes into the game, again sparked on the defensive end with deflections and rebounds. In her 12 minutes, she had seven points and six rebounds. This Lobo team has two freshmen starting and the other three are showing their talents when they get on the floor.
The Lobos play Stephen F. Austin in the championship game of the Lobo invitational Thursday (Dec. 20) evening about 7 p.m., after the consolation game. The Lady Jacks are 8-2 on the year and won more than 20 games last season. Against Hampton, in the Lobo Invite first game, they built an 18-point lead, then withstood a comeback and won 70-68.
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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