Photo: Jayla Everett had 17 points and seven assists for the Lobos on Saturday against Colorado State. (GoLobos.com).
By George Hronich
For Enchantment Sports
The University of New Mexico Lobos women’s basketball team traveled to Fort Collins for an important game against the Colorado State Rams, needing to avoid a trap game before heading to Boise State in a quick turnaround Monday in a game that could determine the number one seed for the Mountain West Conference tournament?
No problem so far.
UNM dominated the fourth quarter to for a convincing 79-56 victory over the lowly Rams (8-19, 2-14).
The Lobos are 23-4 and second in the MWC at 13-3 with two games left in the regular season.
Boise State, which bombed UNLV 53-38 on Saturday, is 23-4, 14-2.
The Lobos close the regular season at home against Wyoming (19-6, 12-4) on Thursday in the Pit.
The Lobos got off to a good start with an early 12-2 lead on Saturday. After a time out CSU came out and scored the next five to cut the Lobo lead to five in a run that would eventually make it a one point game at 16-15. Antonia Anderson again came off the bench and contributed offensively helping the Lobos score the last four points of the first quarter. The Lobos were getting good offensive movement and sharing the ball getting good shots.
The second quarter saw both teams continue good shooting and both teams were hot from three point land, each team would make four treys in the period on 17 total attempts. The Lobos did start to get control on the glass and created turnovers to build a double digit lead. UNM committed only three turnovers in the first half and good ball movement showed with 12 assists on New Mexico’s first 12 FGs. Sophomore Jaedyn de la Cerda continued her hot hand from downtown hitting two three pointers. The rebounding and turnover advantage led to the Lobos scoring 26 points in the period to build a 46-31 half time lead. The Lobos would finish the half with 15 assists on 17 field goals. Senior post Jaisa Nunn and freshman Jayla Everett formed a good inside outside scoring 13 points apiece in the first 20 minutes.
The question at the half was if the Lobos would hold and build the lead in the second half or see another double digit lead slip away. The third quarter started looking like the lead might be in trouble. UNM had a bad offensive quarter making only two of fifteen shot attempts and committing three turnovers. The play was sloppy as the offense seemed to lose rhythm. The passing was not as sharp and New Mexico was taking some long three point shots early in shot clock. Scoring only ten points in the period, UNM played some good defense creating turnovers on the defensive end limiting the Rams shot attempts. CSU did cut the lead at one time to nine, but a big three by Ahlise Hurst put the lead back up to twelve and helped the Lobos to a 56-44 lead going into the final ten minutes of play.
Early in the fourth, the feeling was the lead was still not safe as CSU scored four of the first six points and the score was 58-48. The Lobos then started dominating the game again. The passing and execution on offense was once again sharp and better shots came as a result. Nunn and Everett, neither who scored in the third, became more active on the offensive end. PG Aisia Robertson, who only made two of her first ten shots, made two triples and scored off a steal. The Lobos stretched the lead out to 72-52 with a 14-4 run. The last three and a half minutes Coach Mike Bradbury took the starters out and the Lobos cruised to the 23 point win.
Sharing the ball and balanced scoring again was key to the Lobos scoring. UNM had 23 assists on 27 made field goals as the Lobos shot 46% from the floor and committed only nine turnovers. Four players had double digit scoring led by Nunn and Everett with 17 each. Robertson 15 and Hurst 11. Senior Nike McClure had eleven rebounds, Robertson five. Dishing out assists were Everett with seven, Robertson and de la Cerda with six each.
Boise St. was a winner at home against UNLV and stay one game up on the Lobos. If the Lobos can pull off another road win, they will tie for first and gain the tie breaker advantage. Wyoming stays one game behind the Lobos with an overtime win at Air Force. The Falcons had a chance for the upset over the Cowgirls but missed three free throws late in regulation to let Wyoming come from behind and force the extra five minutes. After the game at Boise Monday, the Lobos finish the regular season at home against Wyoming Thursday night. Two games left with three teams having a shot at first place, the Lobos do control their destiny if they can win the next two. UNM is having a promotion of $2 tickets for bench seats, $2 $2 for popcorn, and $2 for soda. For those that want a beer, $4 draft.
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.