The University of New Mexico Women's Basketball team will not be Mountain West regular season champions.
The Lobos suffered a 70-66 loss to the Boise State Broncos on Monday night at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, as the hosts secured their first ever outright conference championship.
UNM struggled offensively for the majority of the game, including turning the ball over 16 times before the half and 26 times in total, which lead to 28 points for the Broncos. Boise, who had 14 turnovers before the half, only turned the ball over four more times in the second half, from which the Lobos only generated 12 points.
“We were uncharacteristically loose with the ball, and Boise State took advantage of it," head coach Mike Bradbury told the Albuquerque Journal. "I think both teams were trying to do too much in the first half, but (the Broncos) settled down a little quicker than we did. We won every statistical category except turnovers and those were the difference.”
Aisia Robertson was limited for much of the night, including sitting the majority of the second quarter due to turnovers. She finished the first half with six, and ten for the game. She also led all scorers with 23 points and added seven rebounds and one assist. 15 of her 23 points came in the fourth quarter as the Lobos attempted to rally past the Broncos, but came up just short.
Jaisa Nunn made history early in the first quarter of the game, becoming the first player in program history to record 1000 points and 900 rebounds in a career, cementing her position as one of the best Lobos of all-time just before her senior night. The Broncos focused all of their efforts on stopping her offensively and were successful, limiting her to eight points and 12 rebounds on 2-of-10 shooting from the field.
Jayla Everett pitched in 12 points and Antonia Anderson added 10 of her own, joining Robertson as the only Lobos to score in double figures on the night.
“Boise State’s really good and they hit some big shots, but my team battled and I’m proud of them," Bradbury said. "I told our players, ‘We didn’t lose anything tonight but a game. We still have to win the conference tournament to get to the NCAA's and we can still do that. We just have to learn from this one.'”
The loss likely ends the Lobos chances of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, though the odds of that were always slim.
Up next for UNM is senior night against Wyoming on Thursday, March 7 at 7p.m. at Dreamstyle Arena — The Pit. The team will honor Nunn, Nike McClure, Emily Lines and Erica Moore following the game. On the line is the No. 2 seed in the Mountain West Tournament, which beings on Sunday in Las Vegas.
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.