In the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team’s final game at The Pit this season, a strong performance from senior guard Cherise Beynon led the Lobos to a win over Colorado State, 54-48, in front of a crowd of 5,088 screaming fans.
Being their last game, it also doubled as “senior night,” in which four Lobos Beynon, Tesha Buck, Alex Lapeyrolerie and Laneah Bryan stepped onto the Pit floor.
Lapeyrolerie, who tore her ACL in a game against Air Force a few games ago, also suited up in her uniform. And, to the crowd’s delight, was awarded her spot in the starting lineup. She looked out into the crowd and hugged her teammates before leaving the court shortly after to let the game get started.
Meanwhile, Beynon, Buck, Bryan and Jaisa Nunn got the start for UNM (21-9, 9-8 MW).
While Beynon led the Lobos — and the game — with 20 points, hustling on both ends of the floor and playing to win, Flye was the weak spot for the team’s offense. Though she had six points, Flye went 3-for-17 from the field, and an even uglier 0-for-7 from beyond the arc.
After CSU (19-10, 11-7) opened up the game with the first score, the Lobos quickly answered with a steal from Nunn and a finish at the hoop from Beynon.
The Rams had an 18-14 lead entering the second quarter, but both offenses had a hard time creating shots early in the frame. It took over four minutes for either team to get on the board.
But, right after, Buck nailed a 3 to bring the game within three points. Then, in the last half of the frame, Madi Washington, a freshman guard, nailed two critical 3s. By halftime, the Lobos had a 26-25 lead.
Beynon hit a jumper to start off the third quarter and put her team up by three points. But the Lobos slowly started to build their lead over the quarter and, by the end of it, had a 41-34 lead over the Rams.
In the fourth quarter, it was all UNM. Though a CSU layup brought the game within three points, 41-38, early on, the Lobos were always a step ahead on offense. Beynon, with a little under six minutes left, hit a few throws to give UNM a 10-point lead, 52-42.
CSU tried to bring it back, hitting a 3 with two and a half minutes left. But UNM held them scoreless after that. By the end, UNM grabbed a 54-48 win.
Nunn was second in scoring for the Lobos with 12 points and 14 rebounds. It was her 16th double-double this season. As a team, UNM shot just 28.6 percent from the field.
CSU has 42 rebounds to UNM’s 41, but the Lobos had 15 offensive boards. In turn, they scored 15 second chance points.
The Lobos will play their final game of the regular season when they travel to Fresno State for a Friday evening tip-off. That game starts at 8 p.m. and 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 contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.