The New Mexico Women’s Basketball team went into Logan, Utah with a big opportunity in front of them, and they took advantage of it with a 68-64 win over the Utah State Aggies and reclaimed first place in the Mountain West.
The Lobos entered the day tied with the Aggies for second place in the conference, one game behind the Boise State Broncos for first place, but the Broncos suffered their first loss in conference against Wyoming in Laramie.
“We’re built for conference games and built to grind them out,” Bradbury said in a post-game phone interview with the Albuquerque Journal. “We’re not built to blow teams out, so I guess this is how it’s gonna be. I’m getting used to it.”
Jayla Everett led the way for the Lobos with 22 points, two assists and two rebounds, as well as seven turnovers. Ahlise Hurst and Jaisa Nunn joined her in double figures with 13 points each, with Nunn recording a double-double, adding 11 rebounds to her final stat line.
The Lobos led for the majority of the game, with the Aggies leading for only 14 seconds. USU kept the game close, giving them a chance to win in the final minutes, but the Lobos were able to do just enough to keep out in front. USU outscored the Lobos in the fourth quarter 19-17, and had the game tied with as little as 1:05 remaining in the game.
Everett put the Lobos back on top on the following possession with a three, and they forced a turnover on the opposing end followed by a split a pair of foul shots from Everett. The Aggies missed a shot on the next possession, Nike McClure grabbed the rebound and hit one of two free throws on the other end to stretch the Lobos lead to five. The Aggies would cut it back to a one possession game, but Everett sealed the deal with another free throw to secure the win.
“Jayla was incredible,” Bradbury said. “She had to play a lot of point guard because (Aisia Robertson) was in foul trouble, she had to score, and she seemed to hit a big shot every time Utah State made a run.”
The Lobos are No. 44 in the nation in RPI, the system that the NCAA Selection Committee uses to help select teams for the NCAA Tournament, up from No. 47 prior to their win over the Aggies.
After a midweek bye, the Lobos will return to the Pit to take on Fresno State Saturday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs are currently tied for second place in the conference with the Broncos, and have an overall record of 13-5.
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.