The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team followed a 84-48 blowout of San Diego State on Feb. 3 with another easy 65-48 win to complete a midweek sweep of the Aztecs. The two victories put the Lobos at 9-2 and third in the Mountain West with eight games remaining in the pandemic-shortened season.
Both games featured similar starts and finishes, with low-scoring first halves for UNM before surges in the second frames. The Lobos continued their unselfish playing style with four players scoring in double digits each game.
“I thought in the second half, our mental approach was much better than the first half,” head coach Mike Bradbury said in his opening statement after Wednesday’s game. “Things looked a lot sharper and more crisp.”
The Lobos bounced back after the team split a two-game series with Fresno State at the close of January. Bradbury highlighted the aggressiveness shown by UNM in the second half.
“We were much more aggressive (and) much better at guarding the ball,” Bradbury said. “We didn’t give up a lot of penetration or offensive rebounds because we guarded the ball pretty good.”
Despite the win on Friday, Bradbury said it was an “ugly game.” Nevertheless, he articulated some positive takeaways.
“The one thing we did good was we continued to fight, we continued to play and that was big,” Bradbury said.
He commended two guards and one forward — all bench players — for their performances.
“I think Corina (Carter), Autumn Watts and Kath (van Bennekom) saved us,” Bradbury said. “Autumn played the whole first half, Corina played almost the whole second half. Kath played 10 huge minutes.”
“We couldn’t have got on the right side of the day without those three,” Bradbury said of his bench players.
Bradbury said the defense “was good” and added that it kept them “in range” for the game.
“I thought our help line defense was great. They didn’t beat us on the ball screen stuff and all the rolls at the basket,” Bradbury said. “Defensively we were fine, it was just the other end.”
Bradbury expressed that his team had a “good approach” and mindset during a season filled with uncertainty and turmoil. “This whole season’s tough — it’s tough for everybody, not just us,” he said.
The Lobos’ next two-game series comes against Wyoming on Feb. 17 and 19. The series against co-conference leaders Colorado State originally scheduled for Feb. 12-13 was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test within the UNM women’s basketball program.
Jesus Mata is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @JesusMataJr99