THE PIT — In their second matchup of the season, the Lobos fell 95-76 to Boise State's Broncos after losing a halftime lead and an eventual fourth-quarter collapse.
At their previous meeting at the beginning of December, the Broncos (20-9, 12-5 MW) beat the University of New Mexico (14-15, 5-11 MW) by a single point.
During the game, the team and crowd alike dressed in pink to support breast cancer awareness, and survivors were recognized on the court during breaks in the tilt.
The game started off at a slower pace as both teams found their rhythm. The margin remained close, with the Lobos holding a 4-point lead by the end of the first quarter. Jordan Hosey highlighted the opening frame with a drive to the rim for an acrobatic reverse layup.
In the second quarter, the Lobos caught fire from the field and on the boards, though foul trouble allowed Boise State to stay in the game and prevented UNM from pulling away.
Freshman guard Corina Carter outran and out-hustled almost everyone on the court during the first half, showcasing her emergence as a shining star for the Lobo offense. A driving layup in the second quarter won over the Pit crowd, who watched as she played a career-high 24 minutes. Prior to Sunday, Carter had not played more than 15 minutes in a game in her collegiate career.
Led by balanced first-half efforts from sophomore Ahlise Hurst (13 points) and fifth-year senior Aisia Robertson (12 points), UNM still held a 46-43 lead going into the break.
Boise State came out firing in the second half, refusing to let the Lobos pull away. Less than two minutes into the half, a Bronco three-pointer gave them the lead for the first time during the entire game.
All told, the Broncos' shooting touch gave them a five-point lead heading into the fourth, up 71-66 with a quarter remaining.
Unfortunately for UNM, the Lobos managed just 10 points in the fourth quarter for the second straight game. Boise State capitalized on the Lobos' shooting woes, coasting to a convincing 19-point victory.
The second half saw a rejuvenated Boise State offense able to break down the New Mexico defense while also holding the Lobos to an abysmal shooting percentage. In the end, the Lady Lobos shot just 27-for-75 (36%) from the floor.
UNM head coach Mike Bradbury said the Lobos' second-half adjustments were made "to try and stay in touch, but we just couldn't get there."
Bradbury also touched on how his team's various defensive looks failed to stop a surging Bronco offensive attack, admitting that "they all worked out the same."
"I'm not worried about this game turning around and impacting our next one," he said. "We will bounce back because we have been resilient all year long, and we will not quit because of a game like this."
With the loss, UNM drops to 14-15, its first time falling under the .500 mark this season. The last home game of the season is on Monday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. where the team will celebrate its seniors, including core starters Hosey and Robertson.
Robertson said the prospects of her final home game left her with a bittersweet feeling. She is excited to be playing one last time in the Pit but also sad because it will be her last game there as a player.
Angelina Pompeo is a sports reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @PompeoAngelina