Lobo junior guard Cherise Beynon has flirted with a triple-double on several occasions this season, but she finally pulled off the feat in a convincing win over Air Force Wednesday night.

Beynon recorded 20 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to help lift her team to an 81-64 victory over Air Force at WisePies Arena. 

The Albuquerque Journal’s Ken Sickenger reported that it was the first triple-double for the UNM women’s basketball team since 1979.

New Mexico (14-10, 9-4 MW) strengthened its hold on third place in the conference standings as Air Force (3-18, 1-10 MW) continued to muddle through a tough season.

The Lobos took it to the Falcons in the opening minutes, scoring the first six points of the contest. But despite five different Lobos scoring early in the game, Air Force hung around and tied things up at 10-10 with 3:09 remaining in the first quarter.

By Colton Newman

Junior guard Cherise Beynon protects the ball from an Air Force player on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017 at WisePies Arena. 

The teams tied each other four more times during the period, but Beynon drilled a 3-pointer with two seconds left to break the stalemate and give the Lobos a 22-19 advantage.

Air Force shot an efficient 7-of-19 from the 3-point line in the game, and came out firing in the second quarter. Cortney Porter and Kailin Davis knocked down consecutive deep balls to put the Falcons out in front 25-22.

But the lead lasted less than one minute, as Beynon responded with a long-range shot of her own to tie the game again. Senior center Richelle van der Keijl went to work in the post to reclaim a 27-22 lead a couple of possessions later, and the Lobos never trailed again.

The scores were part of a 15-0 run that spanned about five minutes and propelled UNM to a 37-22 lead. Laneah Bryan and Hannah Sjerven were instrumental, accounting for eight points during that turning point.

Both players were big contributors off the bench, with Bryan scoring 14 points in the game and Sjerven accounting for 18.

Air Force stayed within striking distance though, hitting another 3-pointer as the second quarter drew to a close to cut the deficit to 10 going into halftime, trailing 41-31.

The Falcons opened the second half with a jumper to trim the lead to eight, but couldn’t get any closer. The Lobos exploded for a huge scoring quarter and played suffocating defense, outscoring their opponent 25-10 during the third to take a commanding 66-43 lead.

New Mexico seemed to put things on cruise control in the fourth quarter, but saw the lead swell to 26 after Bryan stuck another 3-pointer to make the score 75-49 with 7:01 left to play. She went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc in the game.

Air Force couldn’t take advantage of getting one of UNM’s key players in foul trouble. Van der Keijl posted solid numbers despite picking up her fourth personal foul in the opening minute of the final quarter. She ended the night with 14 point and six rebounds in just 21 minutes of action.

The Falcons shot 15-for-18 from the free throw line, but the Lobos saw more than twice as many free throw attempts, despite going just 20-for-38 in the game.

But New Mexico shot lights out from the floor, hitting 52.8 percent of its shots in the game, while limiting Air Force to just 35.6.

The Lobos will travel to Boise, Idaho looking for their third win in a row as they take on Boise State next Tuesday

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.