PHOTO: Courtesy of GoLobos.com
By George Hronich
For Enchantment Sports Fan-demonium
The University of New Mexico Lady Lobos came out of the locker room playing high pressure half court defense and held Stephen F. Austin Lady Jacks scoreless for the first nine minutes of the game on the way to a 74-33 for the title in its own Lobo Invitational on Thursday night (Dec. 20).
The quicker, longer Lobo team was able to deflect several passes and force some tough passes to be made. When SFA did get a decent look to shoot, the Lobos quickness had the Jacks shooting quickly and they were not able to connect.
The Lobos were a little sloppy on offense or may have raced out to a bigger lead than they did, which reached 15-0 before SFA was able to connect, making it 15-2 at the end of the first quarter.
There was a little uneasiness as starting post players Jaisa Nunn and Nike McClure each picked up a couple early first half fouls. Sophomore Antonia Anderson came off the bench and played very well subbing for the starters.
The second quarter started out again with the Lobos struggling a little offensively but still keeping the Lady Jacks off the scoreboard. Sparked again by the energy of freshmen Quincy Noble and Shai McGruder off the bench, the Lobos were able to put a run together and stretch the lead to 35-9 at the half.
SFA won 25 games last year and came into the championship game of the Lobo Invite with an 8-2 record. I don’t think some people were expecting quite the blowout we were seeing, but this year’s Lady Lobos were much quicker all around. It was another block party night as the Lobos blocked 10 shots, three each by McClure and McGruder.
Lobo coach Mike Bradbury did a lot of substituting in the second half. No Lobo played over 24 minutes, giving some of the talented younger players who do not play as much more time. Noble saw her most minutes (18) in a game and responded with 10 points. McGruder, as she has in previous games, stepped in passing lane for a steal and coast-to-coast layup. All five freshmen again showed the talent of the top-30 recruiting class.
The additions of the five freshmen, grad transfer Nike McClure, and Aisia Robertson have added a lot of quickness and looks to be making this a better defensive team. They are playing passing lanes more and getting more deflections and steals. This could be the deepest team in terms of talent we have seen here.
The ladies now get a few days off to visit family for Christmas then head to California to play the last non-conference game of the year before starting conference play at home January 2nd.
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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