The University of New Mexico Lobos 10th consecutive victory of the season, marking a new program record for wins to start a season without a loss, came in dominant fashion against Texas Tech at Dreamstyle Arena, as they won 90-56 in front of an announced crowd of 5,663 fans on Wednesday evening.
The crowd was the largest attendance this season for the Lobos (10-0), a healthy site for a team that has yet to taste defeat.
The win against the Red Raiders was due to a strong defensive effort from the Lobos, as they forced 20 TTU turnovers in the game. They also translated those turnovers into 28 points, while only allowing TTU to score two points off of seven UNM turnovers.
Senior guard Cherise Beynon, who scored a game-high 21 points against the Red Raiders (3-4) on a 10-for-29 shooting night, was effective on defense leading the Lobos in the game with four steals.
Despite the height advantage, the Red Raiders only outrebounded the Lobos by a margin of 44-43.
Junior post Jaisa Nunn brought down a game-high 10 boards, with six of those coming on the offensive end. She also had 15 points, giving her a double-double.
“We really wanted to compete on the boards as hard as we could, because we couldn’t just let them kill us and be plus-15, plus-20, you know, rebound it until they make it,” head coach Mike Bradbury said. “And we did that, we end up minus-1 (on the boards) and I thought that was huge.”
The first quarter, by no means, was a high scoring affair. It nearly took two minutes before either team made a shot, with TTU taking the lead on a layup. But Nunn, who had six points in the frame, scored the Lobos’ next four points to give her team their first lead of the game.
UNM, on a layup from senior guard Tesha Buck, went up by four points near the end of the first quarter, though the Red Raiders managed to cut the Lobos’ lead to two points, 14-12, before the whistle blew.
TTU managed to tie the game up in the beginning of the second quarter, but a Beynon layup ignited a 13-0 UNM run, putting them up 27-14 only three minutes into the frame.
Near the end of the second quarter, after a Nunn jumper, the Lobos had the lead at 15 points. Towards halftime TTU picked up its pace a bit, entering halftime down by 10 points, 37-27, mostly thanks to an emergence off of the bench from sophomore center Erin Degrate, who had six of her team’s 15 points in the frame.
The start of the third quarter saw UNM’s first eight points (six were Nunn’s) scored on free throws, as TTU put the Lobos into the bonus nearly four minutes into the frame.
With UNM up by ten points nearly midway through the third, the Lobos only stepped on the gas pedal even harder, putting together a 7-0 run. By the end of the frame, UNM grew its lead to 22 points.
The fourth quarter, led by Beynon’s eight points in the frame, saw the Lobos continue their pace in the game. Two minutes in, a made free throw grew the Lobos’ lead to 27 points. From there, it went all downhill for the Red Raiders.
By the end of the game, UNM came out victorious, defeating TTU by 34 points — the Lobos’ second largest victory this season.
As a team, the Lobos shot 43.4 percent from the field, compared to TTU’s 37.9 percent shooting night.
Other than Beynon and Nunn’s big offensive performances, Buck also had herself a game. She scored 20 points, second most in the game, while nailing six of her 12 shots.
The Lobos, while scoring a lot of their points off of turnovers, also played at a high pace in the process. UNM outscored TTU in fast break points, 30-9, as it was obvious the Lobos were the faster team.
Up next for the Lobos, in their quest to remain undefeated, comes a tough challenge in Navy — a team that has also had an undefeated start, winning nine games entering Sunday’s contest.
Tip-off for that game is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10.
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 reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.