This week, the University of New Mexico women's basketball team (14-14, 5-10 MW) played two games in Nevada, starting on Feb. 15 with an emphatic 80-64 win against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (12-13, 8-6 MW) and concluded with an 86-78 overtime loss against the University of Nevada (14-12, 7-8 MW) on Feb. 19.
Before heading into the UNLV game, Assistant Coach Bill Ferrara emphasized the importance of rebounding on both ends of the floor for team success. Going into the game, Ferrarra had noted that “it has certainly been a rough match-up for us physically”, and that “they play two bigs at all times and they pound it inside and they drive it on you. We have to contain the penetration.”
After a physical first half in which neither team pulled away, the Lobos channeled their energy and dominated the final two frames, outscoring UNLV 44-27.
Each team had a player foul out, while several others found themselves in foul trouble down the stretch. This was a testament to both teams’ on-ball pressure and physical defense.
UNM guard Jaedyn De La Cerda turned in yet another stellar performance, this time a 23-point outburst which led the team. On UNLV’s end, senior center and Mountain West rebounding leader Rodjanae Wade matched De La Cerda’s 23 points while chipping in 14 rebounds.
A few days later, the Lobos looked to carry the momentum into their matchup with the University of Nevada in Reno on Wednesday night.
Neither team could make open shots consistently, as each hovered around 40% shooting from the field while combining for an abysmal 7-for-38 from beyond the arc.
Down by nine at the half, UNM stormed back with a dominant 25-11 mark in the third quarter, once more led by De La Cerda who would end the night with a team-high 21 points.
Despite Ferrara’s focus on rebounding, Nevada wound up on top in this category by a 54-47 margin which may have been the games deciding factor. The Lobos would eventually fall 86-78 in overtime after scoring just seven points in the extra period.
After splitting their Nevada road trip, the Lady Lobos stand at 14-14 and 5-10 in conference play, good for ninth in the conference standings. This weekend, UNM returns to the Pit for a two-game stretch, starting Saturday afternoon against Boise State.
Angelina Pompeo is a reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @PompeoAngelina