Saturday afternoon’s matchup at San Jose State didn’t go as planned for the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team.
In the team’s fourth conference appearance this season, the Lobos (15-2, 3-1 MW) lost their first Mountain West game to a below .500 Spartans team, who laid it on UNM in the second half to win, 95-86, at the Event Center.
After the Lobos garnered a 49-42 lead by halftime, the Spartans (5-10, 2-2 MW) outscored their opponent 53-37 in the second half.
But, in the first two minutes of the third quarter, SJSU came out firing. In that time, the Spartans managed to nail, not one, but two 3-pointers as well as a basket to give them a 50-49 lead.
The Spartans led most of the third quarter, too, but near the end of the frame, a basket by junior post Jaisa Nunn put UNM up 67-63. However, in similar fashion to the start of the third, the Spartans finished the third on a 5-0 run, to take a 68-67 advantage at the end of the quarter.
The next time the Lobos would garner a lead came on a basket from senior guard Cherise Beynon with 6:51 in the game, to put her team up 74-73. From there, SJSU picked up its pace, grabbed the lead and didn’t squander it. From the moment the Lobos last had the lead, the Spartans outscored them 23-12 before the end of the game.
“When I say we weren’t ready to play, I mean everybody,” UNM head coach Mike Bradbury said to the Albuquerque Journal. “It showed in practice (Friday) and in walk-through (Saturday). I’m embarrassed. We will go back to work Monday, and this won’t happen again.”
Nunn, who had 31 points and 10 rebounds, led the way for UNM. In the game, she was 12-for-14 from the field.
Senior guard Tesha Buck had 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. And senior guard Alex Lapeyrolerie had 13 points, with three made 3s.
With her nine points and 12 assists, Beynon nearly had a double-double. She did, however, post seven turnovers. In total, UNM had 15 turnovers — Beynon nearly commited half of them.
As a team, the Lobos shot 43.8 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from range compared to SJSU’s 45.9 percent shooting night and even better 48 percent from beyond the arc.
With UNM’s loss to SJSU and after Fresno State defeated top Mountain West opponent, Colorado State, 56-45 on Saturday, the Lobos and the Bulldogs are tied atop the conference. Both the UNM and Fresno State are now 3-1 in the conference. The two teams will meet next Saturday, after the Lobos play one more on the road at Wyoming on Wednesday.
In Wyoming, the Lobos will face a team that defeated Boise State — who UNM beat by 17 points at home — on Saturday, 66-51.
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 @matt_narvaiz.