On Tuesday, the University of New Mexico (5-0) played its fifth game of the 2019-2020 season at the University of Texas at El Paso (3-1). After a heated first quarter, the Lobos broke ahead and kept their distance to win the game 93-78 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso.
The win continued the Lobos' undefeated start after the UNM women brought down New Mexico State University over the weekend. The team defeated their Aggie rivals 86-67 with Jaedyn De La Cerda dominating in shooting for the Lobos. De La Cerda sunk 26 points and left the court with the most assists of anyone in the game.
The energy from playing against NMSU carried into their matchup against the Miners as the Lobos quickly found their footing and remained competitive through challenges.
During the beginning of the game, the Lobos took a head start but UTEP caught up and took the lead over halfway through the quarter. Once UNM took back the lead, the two teams stayed neck and neck for the remainder of the quarter, exchanging points and fouls.
At the end of the first quarter, UNM was up 25-19. Both the Lobos and Miners fouled six times during the quarter, but the game-changer was that the Lobos made 100% of the free throws they took. The Miners only made 28.6%.
In the second quarter, UNM took a larger lead mainly due to the better shot percentage than in the previous quarter. Although the Lobos did foul seven times during the quarter, they kept their heads above water by rebounding and creating more shot opportunities for themselves. The half ended with UNM being up 53-39.
The third quarter was not much different from the second. The Miners and UNM both exchanged almost equal amounts of points, but the Lobos stayed in the lead. UTEP led the quarter with rebounds and free throws, while the Lobos led with shots.
Over the course of the third quarter, every time a Miner would make a basket a Lobo would retaliate and make one in the next play after and vice versa. They kept the scoring extremely close, with the Lobos only making one more basket than UTEP.
In the final quarter, the fatigue from the players was apparent. Both teams scored their lowest amounts of the whole game. Both teams slowed down on offense and picked up on defense by not letting the other team score more than 20 points in the final ten minutes.
By the final buzzer, the Lobos maintained their advantage and finished the game 93-78.
The star of the game for the Lobos was Jordan Hosey, who had a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Shaiquel McGruder was on the brink of a double-double herself with 13 points and eight assists. Corina Carter also had an impressive game with eight assists, which was tied for the most of any Lobo players.
Overall the team had 41 rebounds, but they also committed 26 personal fouls. Despite their high error count, they were 89.5% from the free throw line when they drew in the fouls themselves.
After previous games, head coach Mike Bradbury would emphasize how they shoot free throws every day and how it is an important part of the game for the team and for him. During the game against UTEP alone, the Lobos made 17 points off of just free throws, and they won by 15 points.
For UTEP, Katarina Zec led her team in points with 16 and Ariona Gill almost had a double-double with her eight points and ten rebounds. Statistically, UTEP kept up with the Lobos, but it was the free throws that ended the game for them. They made 20 free throws out of the 33 attempts that were taken.
The next two games for the Lobos will be in Cancun, Mexico over Thanksgiving break for the Cancun Challenge. They will be playing Missouri on Thanksgiving Day and West Virginia on Black Friday. Both games will be broadcasted on the FLOHOOPS television network and 610 KNML The Sports Animal radio network.
Angelina Pompeo is a sports reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @PompeoAngelina