By George Hronich
For Enchantment Sports
The University of New Mexico Lobos used a big second quarter to beat the San Jose State Spartans 79-60 in San Jose Wednesday night and help erase some nasty memories.
Last year the Lady Lobos took a 15-1 overall record, 3-0 in conference to San Jose only to play poorly and got upset 95-86 starting a string of five losses in six games to effectively take UNM out of conference title contention. Wednesday night the Lobos started the California trip 19-3 and 9-2 in conference, wanting to avoid another upset in Northern California. It did.
San Jose State is a team wanting to push pace and shoot a lot of 3s. Early on the Lobos played into the Spartans hands shooting several early 3s, only making 1-6. Despite five early turnovers, San Jose State had an early 13-11 lead. After the first media time out, the Lobos heated up going on a 10-1 run to take a 21-14 lead after the first 10 minutes. After the slow start, UNM hit their next three treys to close the opening quarter with momentum.
The Lobo run would swell in the second quarter as UNM took control. The run turned quickly into a 31-6 burst and a 42-19 lead. The halftime score would show the Lobos with a 48-21 lead, holding SJSU to only seven second quarter points.
Lobo senior Jaisa Nunn and freshman Ahlise Hurst would lead the first half surge with a combined 26 points on 11-16 shooting. The defensive pressure by UNM led to 14 Spartan turnovers. The question then became whether the Lobos could keep up the pressure and not allow another comeback to lose another double-digit lead.
The second half started with the Spartans hitting a couple 3s while the Lobos got a little careless passing and missed a couple of inside shots. The lead was cut to 53-31. But behind Nunn and point guard Aisia Robertson, UNM built the lead back to 61-31.
The Lobos seemed to lose focus in the second half as their 50 percent first half shooting fell to 15 percent in the third quarter, going 3-20 from the field. The officiating crew started blowing the whistle calling a lot of fouls and UNM did take advantage from the line to keep a comfortable lead, but were outscored by three in the period.
The Lobos continued some sloppy play in the fourth quarter, but the lead was never really threatened. SJSU did hit some 3s and converted some offensive rebounds to cut the lead to 19 a couple of times. UNM was outscored 39-31 in the second half and still has not shown that “killer instinct” to really put a team away with double-digit leads and momentum.
The Lobos were once again led by Nunn with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Robertson added 16 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Antonia Anderson again played strong off the bench, chipping in nine points. UNM had a good night from the line, going 20-27.
New Mexico remains in second place in the Mountain West, one game behind 10-1 Boise St. The Lobos play Saturday at Fresno State, which fell to 8-4 after losing on Wednesday.
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.
Enchantment Sports’ Fan-Demonium is a place for sports fans to share their thoughts. Fan-Demonium pieces are the opinion of the author only, and not necessarily of Enchantment Sports. Interested in submitting something? Email EnchantmentSportsNM@gmail.com. All pieces must include your real name, and we must be able to contact you and verify your identity.