It took overtime to do it.
But in a closely contested battle, the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team beat the undefeated Navy team at Dreamstyle Arena, 94-87, in front of an announced crowd of 6,673.
The win for UNM (11-0) tied the longest win streak in team history, with the women’s team doing it at one point during the 1977-78 season and again in the 2003-04 season.
But the win didn’t come easy.
“Navy never quit,” UNM coach Mike Bradbury said. “They are extremely frustrating to play. They are so disciplined. They are well coached. And that’s on top of being really, really good players.”
Five different Lobos scored in double digits, with senior guard Cherise Beynon leading the way with a team-high 20 points.
But Beynon’s scoring wasn’t empty either. She scored when it mattered. In the first half alone, she scored 12 points. In the opening minutes of overtime, she had four of the Lobos’ first five points — a sequence that ultimately gave UNM the edge in the end.
For the Midshipmen, senior guard Taylor Dunham was UNM’s kryptonite. She nailed a whopping nine 3-pointers in the game, en route to a game-high 34 point performance.
For the majority of the game, Dunham’s shots seemed to fall when she needed them to. But in overtime, she missed all three of her 3-point attempts.
Still, the Lobos’ leading scorer this season praised Dunham’s showing.
“She’s a really good player,” Beynon said. “We scouted her, we knew a lot of them were shooters. They were just driving it and driving it and kicking it and finding her...If we could’ve guarded the ball, maybe we could’ve contested her shots more.”
After the Lobos went down 22-16 after the first quarter, UNM picked up its play in the second.
Beynon opened up the ensuing frame with two made free throws to trim Navy’s lead to just four points. Shortly thereafter, a layup from junior post Jaisa Nunn trimmed the lead to two points, before Navy was able to get on the scoreboard.
After a layup from freshman guard Jasmine Smith tied things up at 24 points apiece early in the second, the game remained through most of the time after. That is, until UNM gained a little separation right before halftime.
A 3-pointer from senior guard Laneah Bryan put the Lobos up by five points with 47 seconds before the half. But the Midshipmen trimmed UNM’s lead to three points, 45-42, before both teams headed up the ramp.
Though UNM managed to outscore Navy in the third quarter, the Midshipmen kept themselves in the game thanks to the 3-ball. Dunham nailed four 3s in the frame for Navy.
But senior guard Tesha Buck and freshman guard N’Dea Flye, in the third, both scored seven points apiece, while senior guard Alex Lapeyrolerie had five points in the frame, respectively, which gave the Lobos a six point lead, 68-62, entering the fourth quarter.
Again, Dunham nailed four more 3-pointers in the fourth, which kept Navy in the game.
The Lobos’ lead in the fourth was as many as eight points, but the score dwindled when Dunham nailed another four 3-pointers in a quarter. Ultimately, her made 3-pointer with 1:02 is what tied the game up, before she missed the game winner with seconds left to play.
In overtime, though, the Lobos opened up with a 7-0 run. From there, they never looked back.
Remaining undefeated, the Lobos beat the Midshipmen by seven points.
Other than Beynon, Buck (18 points), Nunn (16 points), senior guard Alex Lapeyrolerie (15 points) and Flye (12 points) had big offensive performances, too.
As a team, UNM nailed 46.8 percent of its shots. Navy, on the other hand, made 38.5 percent of its shots from the field.
The Midshipmen outrebounded the Lobos 47-45, but Nunn had a double-double performance — she brought down 12 boards in the game as well as finishing third in scoring on the team.
While most of Navy’s points came from the 3-ball (16-of-49), UNM outscored the Midshipmen in the paint, 60-24, which was a big factor in its win.
The score was tied 10 different times, and the lead changed 14 times.
Nunn left the game after fouling a Navy player late in the fourth quarter. She left the court, too, walking up the ramp to get checked out by a team doctor, according to Bradbury.
Bradbury said he didn’t know much about her injury, when speaking to media shortly after the game.
The nearly 7,000 fans in attendance for UNM was the largest crowd since Jan. 18, 2014, when the Lobos played against Fresno State. In that game, 6,911 fans were in attendance.
Albuquerque native and senior guard Hannah Fenske made a triumphant return to her hometown of Albuquerque. Fenske, who played at Volcano Vista in high school, scored 14 points, dished out eight assists and had five rebounds against UNM on Sunday afternoon.
She also had a decent-sized crowd of friends and family in attendance, sitting right behind her team’s bench.
The Lobos will take a road trip to Norman, Oklahoma on Dec. 16 at 2 p.m., to take on the Sooners. It will be UNM’s third game on the road this season.
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.