The New Mexico Lobos cruised to an easy victory over New Mexico State on Saturday at Dreamstyle Arena behind a big first half run in a game that finished 83-58.
The Lobos played probably their most complete half of basketball of the season in the first half against the Aggies. Things were close early on, until the Lobos put together an impressive 17-point scoring run that saw NMSU held scoreless for over seven minutes of game action and build a 20 point lead that set up the rest of the game.
“I thought from about the five minute mark in the first quarter until about five minutes left in the second quarter, defensively we were really good and converted down there in transition,” head coach Mike Bradbury said.
Prior to the run, things were close, with the Lobos holding a 15-12 lead after a three pointer from Gia Pack, who lead Aggies with 26 points. When NMSU scored again, the score was 32-12 prior to a two point basket from Adenike Aderinto that broke the drought with 7:30 to play in the second quarter.
Aisia Robertson played one of her cleanest games of the season, giving up only six turnovers and pouring it in from around the rim. She finished the first half with 13 points and the Lobos had a comfortable 45-25 lead.
The Aggies came out in the second half and seemed to have made the most of the opportunity for second half adjustments and did a better job of controlling the pace. However, they were unable to string together enough stops to get back into the game, and the Lobos continued to roll, thanks in part to the play of their bench.
Bradbury said that he thought it was the best performance from the bench of the season, as they poured in 27 points, compared to seven for the Aggies. Jaedyn De La Cerda and Antonia Anderson played particularly well, combining for 17 points and ten rebounds. De La Cerda made an immediate impact, scoring four points, pulling in three rebounds and adding a steal in her first three minutes on the floor.
For the most part, UNM was able to contain Aggies star Brooke Salas, who still provided 11 points and 11 rebounds, but getting there via 5-for-17 shooting. Pack was the one who hurt the Lobos more, but Bradbury felt that his team played pretty good defense on her, she simply was able to rise over them and make shots. He added that sometimes with a player like that, you just have to hope she’ll miss a few of her opportunities.
Against a team that forces an average of 20 turnovers per game, the Lobos had their lowest turnover total of the season, giving up only 12. They only forced 13 turnovers from NMSU, but were able to take advantage of many of those opportunities scoring 19 points off turnovers.
Bradbury said that the reason the Lobos were so much more efficient with the ball was because they took better care of it in transition. The Lobos also seemed to limit the number of mental mistakes leading to turnovers, and the majority were the result of good defense from the Aggies.
The Lobos cruised to an 83-58 victory and extended their winning streak against the Aggies to three games. Next up, UTEP comes to town on Wednesday, Dec. 5 for a matchup that begins at 7 p.m..
Cameron Goeldner is a senior reporter and photographer for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer, women’s basketball, softball and the Albuquerque Isotopes, but also contributes content for all other sports. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @goeldfinger.