At times it was close. But the New Mexico women’s basketball team, with the help of senior guards Cherise Beynon and Tesha Buck, managed to take home the team’s first win of the season, beating the Western Michigan Broncos 88-76 at Dreamstyle Arena on Friday night.
Questionable foul calls in the third quarter brought the Broncos (0-1) within striking distance, but a late fourth quarter surge, which saw the Lobos (1-0) finish by scoring the last three points of the game, all but sealed the Lobos’ win.
The first quarter started out on a Beynon jumper to take the first lead of the game, nearly a minute in. However, Western Michigan followed with a layup from junior forward Jasmyn Walker.
But the Lobos quickly tuned it up shortly thereafter, going on a 6-0 run to go up 8-2, nearly four minutes into the game. Both teams traded back and forth once again, but the University of New Mexico managed another run, this time scoring 13 straight points, capitalized by a 3-pointer from senior guard Laneah Bryan to go up 21-8 with a little over two minutes left in the quarter.
New Mexico was up 25-12 entering the second quarter, but the Broncos opened up the quarter on a 6-0 run before the Lobos scored courtesy of a Buck 3-pointer. From there, both teams kept pace with each other, but the Lobos finished the quarter with a Buck 3-pointer with three seconds, to go up 45-36 at the half.
What kept the Lobos ahead, though, was their rebounding in the first half. They outrebounded Western Michigan 22-14 in that frame.
After a couple of missed shots by both teams to open up the third quarter, Beynon scored on a layup to put the Lobos ahead 47-36 early on.
But bad foul calls — mostly on New Mexico — helped the Broncos get within striking distance. Western Michigan put together a 6-0 run to shorten the lead to 49-42, and shortly thereafter another 6-0 Broncos’ run brought them within just two points, 54-52, with a little over three minutes in the quarter.
“Yeah, it’s early (in the season), so it’s always called pretty tight,” head coach Mike Bradbury said. “I thought the officials were good, but we needed to stop fouling...I know that sounds really simple, but that’s what we talked about in the huddles.”
However, UNM finished the quarter off strong with two made free throws from Buck and one made free throw from freshman guard N’Dea Flye to end the quarter with a 65-60 lead.
A Buck 3-pointer opened up the fourth quarter, and she followed up shortly after with 1-of-2 made free throws to put New Mexico up by nine early on. But Western Michigan put together a 7-0 run right after, bringing them back within two points. But the Lobos followed up with a 10-0 run capitalized by a 3-pointer from senior guard Alex Lapeyrolerie, to put them up 81-69.
New Mexico, however, went up by nine points on a layup courtesy of junior forward Jaisa Nunn with a little over a minute in the game. From there, Flye scored the last point of the game on a made free throw, and the Lobos ran away with an 88-76 victory.
As a team, New Mexico shot 45.3 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc. They also outrebounded a larger team in Western Michigan, 46-33, something Bradbury was pleased with.
“I thought it was great; that’s what I just told them in the locker room,” Bradbury said. “I thought we would guard them better off the dribble, which we didn’t. I thought we would have trouble rebounding, which we rebounded pretty good, so, you know, we needed to (rebound) it as much as we fouled them.”
Beynon ultimately finished with 24 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and a steal, though she committed four turnovers. Buck, on the other hand, finished with 22 points on a 5-for-8 right from the 3. She had five assists, two rebounds and a steal during the game.
“I felt great,” Beynon said of her performance. “I just think we had a game plan, and the game plan was to attack, and as soon as we knew we were allowed to attack I just kept attacking…It was just my game today.”
Nunn, who only logged in 23 minutes during the game, finished third in scoring with 16 points, while also bringing down six rebounds.
Up next for the Lobos is a game against No. 17 Marquette on Monday.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers baseball and men’s and women’s basketball but also contributes content for football. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.