UNM women's basketball traded blows with the top team in the conference, but couldn't finish against Wyoming on Saturday, fading down the stretch.

New Mexico (9-9, 5-3 MW) held a slim first-half lead over Wyoming (15-3, 7-0 MW), but the Cowgirls grinded out a 68-52 win for a ninth consecutive victory.

The 7-0 start in Mountain West play is a program best for Wyoming, a release said. The loss put the Lobos back at .500 again on the season and could be tied with a pair of other teams for third place in the conference standings.



Lobo head coach Mike Bradbury said his team did a good job executing and creating shots, but just didn't make the shots like Wyoming did.

"They (Wyoming) make every open shot and that's what makes them good," Bradbury said in a release. "This game comes down to making shots. I thought we got better shots than they did...but once you execute correctly you have to put it in the basket. We just didn't do that tonight."

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By Daniel Ward

Junior guard Cherise Beynon aims for a inside jump shot against Colorado State Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 at WisePies Arena. 

UNM junior guard Cherise Beynon started the scoring, knocking down a 3-pointer a little over a minute into the game.

She ended up with 20 points to lead all scorers and inched closer to 1,000 total points scored as a Lobo. Beynon needs 21 more points to achieve the career milestone.

The Cowgirls took the lead twice in the opening period, but Beynon answered with bucket both times. In the final minute, Alex Lapeyrolerie connected on a jumper and logged an assist on a Laneah Bryan 3-pointer that gave UNM an 18-13 lead after one.

Wyoming's Liv Roberts wasted no time tying the game at 18 less than a minute into the second quarter. The period saw several lead changes and both teams led by as many as five points.

Wyoming did an efficient job shooting 3-pointers throughout the game and the Cowgirls went up 28-23 with 3:53 remaining in the second quarter when Taylor Rusk buried a deep ball.

But Beynon scored six straight points to reclaim the lead for New Mexico. Senior center Richelle van der Keijl added another bucket and the Lobos maintained a three point advantage going into halftime, 33-30.

UNM built the lead despite some unbalanced scoring and going just 2-for-14 from downtown. Beynon scored 17 of her 20 points in the opening half, but Lapeyrolerie and Jaisa Nunn had just a combined four points during that timeframe.

The team had some rough sledding in the second half as Wyoming doubled up the Lobos, 38-19 in the final 20 minutes.

New Mexico scored just six points in the third quarter, but still held a slim one-point lead with under three minutes remaining. Wyoming closed the third on a 7-1 run to go ahead 44-39 entering the final period.

The Lobos appeared to be up to the task in the fourth, traded baskets with the Cowgirls to stay in the game. Van der Keijl scored on back-to-back possessions in the post and Beynon drilled a 3-pointer to pull the Lobos with 50-48 with 6:41 to play in the game.

Wyoming responded by engineering a massive 14-0 run, while UNM missed five straight shots to essentially put the game away.

Although both teams made 75 percent of its free throws, the Cowgirls outscored the Lobos by six at the line.

But it was 3-point shooting and rebounding that was probably the biggest disparity in the game. Wyoming went 8-for-18 (44.4 percent) compared to just 16.7 on 4-for-24 shooting for New Mexico.

The Cowgirls also beat the Lobos on the glass, holding a 40-31 advantage in rebounding which aided in several second-chance scoring opportunities.

New Mexico will play on the road again in Logan, Utah on Wednesday against Utah State at 7 p.m.

Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers football and men’s and women’s tennis. He can be reached at sports@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @robert_maler.