Lobo women lead by 10 in the fourth, then fall apart at Fresno State

Featured photo courtesy GoLobos.com

By George Hronich

For Enchantment Sports

The University of New Mexico Lobo women’s basketball team loses another fourth-quarter, double-digit lead, this time unable to come back for the win, losing to Fresno State 77-70.
Nike McClure hit a put back to build a 59-49 lead, but, once again, some quick, poor shot selection and turnovers combined with hot 3-point shooting brought the Bulldogs all the way back.  It was an important game as UNM came into the contest one game behind Boise State for the top spot in the Mountain West. Boise State continued its winning ways with a big win over San Diego State. Fresno State came in with an 8-4 conference record, one game behind Wyoming for third and wanting to get back into contention.
Fresno State jumped out to an early 7-2 lead behind conference leading scorer Candice White. Junior PG Aisia Robertson kept the Lobos close, scoring UNM’s first six points. Senior post Jaisa Nunn and the other Lobos started getting into the offensive flow and with balanced scoring came back to take a 21-17 lead at the end of the first ten minute period. The Bulldogs made three treys and grabbed six offensive rebounds to keep the score close.
The Bulldogs tied the score to start the second quarter. UNM then played better defense over the next few minutes. Getting good team play on the offensive end, the Lobos went on an 8-0 run to regain the lead and would go up 38-28. Fresno State’s Gabby Standifer hit a big 3 as the quarter ran down to cut the lead to seven and give the Bulldogs a lift.
UNM scored its first basket of the third, but then the sloppy play with a lead started again. The Lobos were cold from behind the arc, only going 2-19, but kept putting up 3-point attempts early in the shot clock instead of working the ball inside with the size advantage. Good shooting from downtown combined with Lobo mistakes let Fresno State tie the score at 46. The Lobos then went inside to Nunn and Anderson and built the lead back to 57-49 entering the final period. Several of the Bulldog starters also picked up their third and fourth fouls.
After McClure’s put-back gave the Lobos the 10-point lead to start the final quarter, the wheels fell off for the Lobos, as they would be outscored 28-11 the rest of the way. Robertson and the Lobos continued with the poor outside shooting. Robertson did finish with 17 points, but went 0-9 behind the arc and might have been better off going inside. She did dish out five assists, but some of her seven turnovers came at crucial times. There have been times this year she came back with big plays late, but Saturday was not a day that provided late game heroics. Fresno State started getting to the line and took advantage from the charity stripe. The Lobos did go 20-25 from the line, but missed three late with the score close.
Nunn led the Lobos with another strong double-double, 22 points and 16 boards, but only took eleven shots.
A possible factor in the loss was the unavailability of freshman guard Ahlise Hurst.  She rolled an ankle Thursday in practice and only played the first couple minutes today. Hurst is the Lobos best defensive guard and her defense might have helped against the three point shooting of Fresno St.  The treys were key today as FSU made eleven compared to the two UNM made.  In his post game interview Bradbury felt the  team lost discipline late when they usually regroup and finish strong.
The loss drops the Lobos into a second place tie with Wyoming, a winner at Nevada today. Both teams are two behind Boise State now, and Fresno State climbed within one game of second. UNM hosts Utah State Wednesday night.

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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