A stout defensive effort in the second quarter and beyond, and a 30-point double-double performance from junior post Jaisa Nunn helped the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team defeat the visiting San José State Spartans, 92-62, on Saturday afternoon at Dreamstyle Arena in front of an announced 5,403 fans.
The win marked the Lobos’ second straight after they defeated Utah State on Wednesday, 80-47, at home in a game that also saw them put on a defensive performance for the ages, when they allowed the Aggies to score just four points.
The two recent wins are also a shift for UNM (18-6, 6-5 MW), as they had dropped five of their last six games in the Mountain West prior to Wednesday, including a loss on the road to SJSU (6-16, 3-8 MW), 95-86, on Jan. 6. — the team they just beat.
Head coach Mike Bradbury praised his team after Saturday’s win, saying that they never gave up even during the Lobos’ recent skid.
“Our kids have been great. They've never got down and never were going to throw in the towel when we went through that little mess,” Bradbury said, according to a UNM press release. “They continued to work and I think some things are starting to pay off.”
The win, however, wasn’t just the fact that UNM held the Spartans to 36.8 percent shooting from the field and also made them commit 15 turnovers.
It was also Nunn, who made easy work down in the post of her opponents, scoring 30 points on a 13-for-16 night, while also nailing four of her six free throws. She also had 11 rebounds, which led all players and also marked her 13th double-double this season, placing her in the top-15 in the NCAA.
SJSU got on the board first, as freshman forward Cydni Lewis scored the first points of the game on a layup. But UNM answered back shortly after when senior guard Tesha Buck nailed a jumper to tie the game up.
After an SJSU scored to tie things up at 4-4, UNM was one step ahead in the frame and entered the second quarter with a 19-15 lead.
In the second quarter UNM’s defense proved elite. After missing her first 3-point attempt, and then an SJSU miss, senior guard Laneah Bryan nailed her second shot from beyond the arc to put UNM up 22-15.
Later in the frame, senior guard Alex Lapeyrolerie stringed together back-to-back 3s to put the Lobos up by 11 points, which also marked the first double digit lead of the game for either team.
Little by little, the Lobos added onto their lead. And by halftime, they were up 41-21.
UNM outscored the Spartans 51-42 in the second half, and walked away Saturday with a 92-62 victory.
Bryan, who had 11 points in 20 minutes off the bench, including three 3s, said that her team’s victory over the Spartans was due to working on the little mistakes they made in their loss on the road to them earlier in the season such as turning the ball over. On Saturday, UNM had only six turnovers.
“The last time we played them we got a little out of control and had turnovers,” Bryan said. “We've just worked on it in practice and got it fixed for this game.”
UNM shot 49.3 percent from the field, including making 12 3-pointers. Four They also outrebounded SJSU 44-35. Of the Spartans’ 15 turnovers, UNM managed to score 21 points.
The Lobos will travel to Boise State on Wednesday, Feb. 7 for a 7 pm tip-off. UNM bested the Broncos at home in the two team’s last game at the Pit, when they won 100-83.
The game 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.