The University of New Mexico women's basketball team got back in the win column after losing for the first time in nearly two months, topping the Colorado State Rams 70-58 on Saturday afternoon.
New Mexico (13-2, 3-1 MW) lost for the first time since Nov. 11 after falling 66-57 to UNLV on Wednesday night, ending an 11-game winning streak. But the Lobos regained their footing by opening its two-game home stand with the win, dropping Colorado State to 1-3 in conference play and 7-8 overall.
UNM head coach Mike Brabury said he was appreciative of the support from the 5,809 in attendance, especially considering the women played at the same time as an NFL playoff game and the UNM men's basketball game.
Colorado State Tatum Neubert opened the scoring in the game with a 3-point basket in the first minute of the game — but it was the Lobos' 7 first-half 3-pointers that helped set the tone and help build an early lead for UNM.
The teams traded baskets in beginning stages of the first quarter as it remained a single-possession game until Aisia Robertson knifed into the lane and made a layup while getting fouled. The UNM junior guard made her free throw attempt to make it 11-7 with 3:51 left in the frame.
New Mexico extended its lead to six points when senior forward Jaisa Nunn split her free throw attempts to make it 14-8, but Colorado State got a pair from the foul line to go down at the end of the quarter to inch closer.
Madi Washington, who hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter, added three more triples in the second — as UNM connected on six of its 11 attempts from long distance to extend its lead.
Jayla Everett made the first of the quarter for New Mexico to give the Lobos a 17-12 advantage, followed by one from Jaedyn de la Cerda 3-pointers.
Colorado State took a brief lead when Mollie Mounsey nailed back-to-back 3-pointers for a 23-22 edge at the 4:52 mark, but a second de la Cerda long ball quickly erased it — igniting a 14-3 Lobo run to end the quarter and allow New Mexico to take a 36-26 lead at the break.
The Rams opened the third quarter with a made 3-pointer from Mounsey, but New Mexico increased its lead to 17 points after a 12-2 scoring spurt made it 48-31 midway through the period.
Mounsey cut the lead to single digits later in the quarter with another 3-ball, but the Rams lost ground overall and trailed 52-39 heading into the fourth quarter.
CSU put together its highest offensive output in the final period and scored 19 points. But was unable to string enough together to make a serious run as New Mexico continued to answer with big shots over the final 10 minutes.
With UNM holding an eight-point lead, Washington made her final 3-pointer of the game with 2:34 remaining to push the score to 66-55 and essentially put the game away.
The Lobos knocked down some free throws down the stretch to emerge with the 70-58 home victory.
Mounsey, who scored a game-high 18 points, put together an impressive stat line that included four made 3-pointers. But she didn't get enough help from her supporting cast. The rest of the team combined to shoot 13-of-43 (30 percent) and went 2-of-13 from beyond the arc.
Washington went 5-of-8 from long range, which accounted for all of her shot attempts as the sophomore guard notched a team-high 15 points in just 25 minutes of action.
Senior forward Nike McClure gobbled up 12 boards to help pace the Lobos to a 41-33 rebounding advantage. While fellow post player Jaisa Nunn scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Robertson had another off shooting night, but scored 10 points and recorded eight rebounds and three steals to help pick up the slack.
One area of concern for the Lobos might be the amount of turnovers the team commits — UNM had 18 of them on Saturday. Bradbury said in a postgame interview turnovers would be something his staff and players will try to improve on, but that might be a number they will have to live with as long as the positives outweigh the negatives.
New Mexico will host San Diego State at Dreamstyle Arena aka The Pit on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Mountain West Network.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s basketball, football and baseball and contributes content for various other sports as well. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Robert_Maler.