Unlike the men’s team, the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team defeated the New Mexico State Aggies, 86-75, on Saturday afternoon at Dreamstyle Arena, improving the team to an unblemished record four games into the season.
The win, however, wouldn’t have been possible without the Lobos (4-0) jumping out to an 18 point lead at halftime, which was propelled by a 21-2 run early on.
UNM opened the game on a made 3-pointer from senior guard Cherise Beynon, seven seconds into the game. But, midway through the first, the Aggies (1-2) grabbed charge when they went ahead on a shot from range from senior guard Zaire Williams.
Beynon had a game high 27 points on a 9-for-21 shooting night from the field. She also had nine assists and seven rebounds, bringing her within striking distance of a triple-double.
Shortly after, though, senior guard Tesha Buck launched up a 3 of her own, ultimately igniting the 21-2 run that extended through the last half of the first quarter and early part of the second quarter — a run that put the Lobos up 32-14 with five minutes until the half.
Slowly but surely, in the remaining five minutes before halftime, the Aggies chipped away at the Lobos’ lead and entered halftime only down by 11 points, 35-24.
The Lobos got right back to work to open up the second half of play, with junior forward Jaisa Nunn scoring on a layup to put UNM ahead by 13. That layup, however, ignited another Lobo run, this time a 10-0 run to put UNM ahead by 20 points.
In similar fashion to the second quarter, NMSU climbed its way back to only a 10 point deficit by the end of the third, with the Lobos leading 60-50.
Again, at the start of the fourth quarter, UNM opened up the frame scoring first, on a Beynon layup. But NMSU’s Williams quickly answered with a 3-pointer, bringing the Aggies within single digits.
The Aggies would get the game to within seven points three minutes into the fourth, but UNM — with the help of Beynon’s 12 and senior guard Alex Lapeyrolerie’s 11 points in the fourth, respectively — the Lobos played the latter half of the frame by matching NMSU’s points, giving them no breathing room. Eventually, the Lobos grabbed the 11 point victory over in-state foe NMSU.
Lobo head coach Mike Bradbury said it was a game that didn’t bode well for his team as far as it being a breeze, but that it was one that had its tough moments.
“It was the game that was expected — hard fought,” Bradbury said. “It was a game that had big runs both ways. They fought back, and I thought it was really competitive. I thought both teams really competed at a high level.”
As a team, UNM shot 35.1 percent from the field. Besides Beynon’s performance in scoring, the Lobos saw three others who scored in double digits. Both Buck and Lapeyrolerie finished with 17, and Nunn had 12 points as well as 13 rebounds, giving her the only double double for the team.
Meanwhile, NMSU was led by junior guard Dominique Mills, who had 20 points. Sophomore forward Gia Pack finished with 18 and junior guard Brooke Salas finished with 15 points, respectively.
Three Lobos were suspended: freshman guards Jaedyn De La Cerda, N’Dea Flye and Jasmine Smith were not on the bench for the contest and, according to Bradbury, were suspended for violating team rules, though he didn’t specify what exactly they did.
It is still unclear at this time if they will play in the Lobos’ next game against Wichita State on Friday evening, when the Lobos host a Thanksgiving tournament that will have teams like UC Irvine and Illinois participate, too.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s and women’s basketball and baseball. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter