FEATURED PHOTO: ChatSports.com
By George Hronich
For Enchantment Sports
The UNLV Lady Rebels and Nikki Wheatley again were too tough for UNM Lobos women’s basketball team on Wednesday night in Las Vegas. UNLV used a strong second half and got 28 points and nine rebounds from Wheatley to beat the Lobos 66-57, ending New Mexico’s 11-game winning streak.
UNLV came into the game with a 2-11 record and 0-2 in the Mountain West. The Rebels had been bitten by the injury bug this season, but with all the key players healthy again are capable of beating any team in the conference, and on Wednesday night again bullied the Lobos, winning the sixth consecutive game the teams have played.
UNLV is also the only conference team Lobo coach Mike Bradbury has been unable to beat.
The Lobos (12-2, 2-1) again struggled out of the gate on the road, shooting 2-for-11. VBut they used an 8-1 run, spurred by a couple Jaedyn de la Cerda three pointers, to close out the first quarter and a one point lead.
The Lobos, who only shot 33 percent for the game, stayed cold the second quarter as UNLV heated up and shot 58 percent for the period. But UNM still held a 31-30 lead at the half.
The third period turned ugly for UNM as UNLV outscored the Lobos 20-8 to take control. New Mexico point guard Aisia Robertson picked up her fourth foul, ultimately fouling out midway thru the fourth quarter. The Rebs led by 11 after the third quarter and the advantage grew to 14 in the final period before the Lobos hit a few shots late to cut the lead to six with under a minute to play.
There were a few chances to get closer, but untimely missed free throws and turnovers halted the rally. UNLV made 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch.
Cold shooting by most the team hampered the Lobos. Senior post Jaisa Nunn did go 8-14 and finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. De la Cerda, who scored eight first half points, finished with 11 on 4-of-7 shooting. The rest of the team was only a combined 8-of-40. Nike McClure was 2 of 3, but the young starting guards who came up big against Nevada had a rough time in the Sin City.
Robertson, who has had some very good outings, was 0-for-10 from the field. Freshman Jayla Everett, who has been pretty consistent, was only able to make 3 of 13 attempts. The Aussie freshman Ahlise Hurst only 2 of 9. The Lobos were also out rebounded and committed 20 turnovers,
The Lobos play host to Colorado State at 2 p.m. Saturday.
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.