On Tuesday, the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team (3-0) defeated the Houston Cougars (1-1) at Dreamstyle Arena, aka The Pit. This was their third game of the season after previously winning their first two games against Northern Arizona and the University of California, Riverside.
Starting the game were Lobo sophomores Ahlise Hurst and Jayla Everett, junior Antonia Anderson and seniors Najala Howell and Jordan Hosey.
In the first three quarters, the Lobos outscored the Cougars. Although New Mexico led for three-quarters of the game, Houston outscored UNM 26-11 in the final quarter. UNM left the game with their third win of the season, with a final score of 81-71.
The first quarter kicked off with steady back and forth between the Lobos and the Cougars. As both offenses remained strong throughout the first, the Lobos ultimately found their footing and pulled ahead of Houston, ending the quarter 23-13.
Hurst and Howell both put five points each on the board in the first quarter while Houston guard Jasmyn Harria led her team in the first quarter with six of her own. The Lobos dominated on offense, coming down with ten offensive rebounds and eight defensive rebounds.
Leading into the second, New Mexico extended its edge to a 17-point advantage over the Cougars. The Lobos ended the half with 43-26 on the board.
Out of the locker room, the New Mexico women looked to play a lot of the same game they played before the second half. They managed to tack on an extra 27 points during the third and remain defensively intact to hold off any pressure from Houston.
The scoreboard read 70-45 to the Lobos' advantage after the third.
With the end looking secure for the UNM, Houston upped their defensive game and brought unexpected pressure on the court. With nine forced turnovers and an eight-point scoring run, the Cougars were able to damage New Mexico’s lead.
The Cougars had their best shooting quarter in the final ten minutes. They had a 52.6% field goal conversion rate, which was more than 10% above their efforts in the preceding quarters.
Despite Houston’s significant final quarter, it ultimately wasn’t enough to push past the UNM lead. The Lobos finished only 10 points ahead of Houston, 81-71 at the final buzzer.
Hurst has started as a guard in all of this season’s games. Against the Cougars, she left the game with 20 points and five steals, which were the most steals on the night.
In a postgame press conference, Hurts was asked about the difference in taking care of the ball against Houston compared to previous games. She commented that the team was patient this time around.
"When we caught the ball, we squared up and we were taking it slow and not trying to rush things," Hurst said.
During the press conference, UNM head coach Mike Bradbury addressed how he felt the game went against Houston.
"We were really focused," Bradbury said. "We were ready to play. Our kids were really locked in and followed the plan. When you play a team like Houston, they’re relentless, and they’re never going away."
For their next matchup, the Lobos will take on rivals New Mexico State in Las Cruces. The game is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.
Alanie Rael is the sports editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AllyRael
Angelina Pompeo is a sports reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @PompeoAngelina