Mountain West play hasn’t been kind to the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team. On Saturday, they lost on the road to UNLV, 74-62, marking their second straight loss and eight in conference.
The Lobos (20-9, 8-8 MW) started off well, getting out to a 17-6 lead after senior guard Tesha Buck made back-to-back three-pointers early in the first quarter. But the Lady Rebels (18-9, 13-3), at home, didn’t shy away. UNLV went on a 9-1 run the rest of the first quarter, and cut the Lobos’ lead to three points, 18-15, heading into the second quarter.
After a basket from each team to open the second quarter, UNLV went on a 11-0 run with most of the points coming in or around the post, as well as a three-pointer from senior guard Brooke Johnson. After UNLV grabbed a 34-24 lead with under three minutes before the half, the Lobos were able to patch their wounds a bit when senior guard Laneah Bryan and Buck hit two critical threes. At the half, UNM trailed by five points, 36-31, to the Lady Rebels.
UNLV kept its pace on offense in the start of the third, too, opening the frame on a 16-2 run to grab a near 20-point lead, 52-33, over the Lobos.
In the fourth quarter, UNM was down by as many as 25 points. But the Lobos still had some fight left in them and, after senior guard Cherise Beynon made a layup with 6:19 left, went on a 14-0 run to bring the game a little closer, 68-57, with four minutes left.
But the Lobos wouldn’t get any closer. Instead, UNLV held UNM’s offense at bay for the rest of the game, and in the process reeled off their second victory over the Lobos this season.
UNM head coach Mike Bradbury gave credit to his team for never giving up. But he also noted that, when it mattered, his team wasn’t able to make the shots that could’ve brought the game closer.
“To our kids' credit, they never gave up and continued to play hard,” Bradbury said, according to a press release. “We got the lead down to 11 and had some chances to get closer—but just missed some open shots.”
For UNM, three players scored in double figures. Leading them, was junior post Jaisa Nunn who had 17 points on a 7-for-7 performance. She also had 12 rebounds, giving her another double-double. Buck had 16 points and Beynon had 14 points.
As a team, UNM shot 43.8 percent from the field compared to 36.4 percent for UNLV. But the Lady Rebels won in some other important categories. They outrebounded UNM 38-32, outscored them in the paint 40-26, and scored 30 points off of 19 UNM turnovers.
UNM will play its final home game against Colorado State on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. The game is also senior night, with the team’s current seniors being honored. That 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.