The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team won in decisive fashion over Utah State Wednesday evening, marking the team’s third win this January, after they dropped five of their last six games.
UNM’s 80-47 win was well-rounded, too, as the team saw a plethora of scoring from recently stagnant players, like senior guards Tesha Buck and Alex Lapeyrolerie, as well as bench players, such as senior guard Laneah Bryan and freshman guard Madi Washington.
“It feels good,” Buck said of her team’s win. “We can’t forget about the games that we lost, but I think it’s time to kind of put those behind us and start a new little run. And hopefully like coach (Mike Bradbury) said, we can get better every day. Our main focus right now is practice tomorrow.”
In the game, the Lobos (17-6, 5-5 MW) forced 19 Aggie turnovers — nine of which were steals — and scored 26 points off of them. They also had a stellar night from beyond the arc, as the team hit 15 of their 33 attempts, behind Buck’s game-high five made 3-pointers. Buck had 15 points overall, while Washington’s five made 3s ties her career high, which she made against Northern New Mexico earlier in the season.
UNM also dominated the post, with Nunn — who led all scorers — dropping 20 points on a 10-for-16 night, while also bringing down a game-high 12 rebounds. In total, UNM outrebounded its opponent 36-34. That performance marked Nunn’s 12th double-double this season.
After a missed 3-point attempt to start the game from freshman guard N’Dea Flye, Nunn quickly followed up with a rebound and a subsequent layup to put the Lobos on top first, 2-0.
But UNM’s defense at times early in the first quarter seemed borderline lackadaisical, as they let the Aggies (5-17, 3-8 MW) go on a 6-0 run shortly after the Nunn layup. But the Lobos quickly got their act together.
After a USU layup midway through the quarter, both Lapeyrolerie and Washington hit two 3-pointers, though not back-to-back, to set up a UNM run.
“I thought we were playing hard. I thought we missed a couple of assignments, and they made the shot,” Bradbury said of his team’s defense early in the first quarter.
In total opposition to their first quarter defensive efforts, the Lobos turned things around quickly entering the second quarter. On offense, UNM opened up the frame on a 7-0 run, ignited by a Buck 3-pointer in the opening moments of the start of the quarter and capped by a Nunn layup, before the Aggies could even get on the board on a layup.
But that layup was one of only two made shots in the second quarter for USU, as UNM held them to just four points in the frame. The Aggies were held scoreless in the last six minutes before halftime.
USU kept pace in terms of scoring in the third quarter, as they made 17 points — the same as UNM — in the frame, but it didn’t matter, as UNM was already up 42-18 at halftime and ended the third leading 59-35.
In the fourth quarter, UNM’s defense was at it again.
They allowed just 12 USU points in the frame, while scoring 21 of its own. The Lobos also saw some action from notable bench players, such as Bryan who, in the last minutes of the quarter, nailed a 3-pointer and scored off of an and-one.
In total, UNM made 49.2 percent of its shots, while USU shot a dismal 34.5 percent. The Lobos also held the Aggies to just 1-of-9 from beyond the arc.
The Lobos will host San Jose State on Saturday afternoon — the same team UNM faced on the road in early January only to lose 95-86, which marked the start of the Lobos’ recent skid. Tip-off for the game is at 2 p.m., and it will be streamed live on the Mountain West Network.
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.