The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team completed the sweep against Colorado State to not only clinch the No. 1 seed in the Mountain West Conference tournament, but also secure their first regular season title since 2005. The team held on to win with a final score of 71-62.
New Mexico held a 38-32 advantage at halftime, with guard Ahlise Hurst leading the Lobos in scoring with 12 points. The team then came out the gates strong in the second half, scoring 10 points in the first two minutes of the third quarter.
However, Colorado State tied the game at 58-58 with just over five minutes left in the game. UNM responded by outscoring the Rams 13-4 down the stretch, securing the win.
“For one, to play a team as well coached and as talented as Colorado State is, you have to be locked in,” head coach Mike Bradbury said in his opening statement.
Hurst scored 21 points while Shaiquel McGruder led the team with 15 rebounds.
“It’s nothing different than another game. I just come out and play how I play,” Hurst said. “My team is amazing, that’s why I can do what I do.”
The team was able to hoist up the Mountain West trophy on their home court despite not being able to practice in New Mexico until just a few weeks ago. The Lobos will now enter the MW tournament riding a four game winning streak.
Seniors Jaedyn De La Cerda and Antonia Anderson both said that the team approached the season with an “us against everybody” mentality.
“A lot of people counted us out. For us to be in this position and actually pull it off, that speaks to how tough our team is mentally,” Anderson said.
Bradbury also spoke to the team’s resilience, and reflected on how their stint away from home influenced their chemistry and development.
“I think in a weird way, it might have helped us. Our team was more connected to each other this year than it’s ever been,” Bradbury said. “We played hard, we played together, we found our identity early that we were going to bomb a bunch of threes (and) play really fast, and we hung our hat on that.”
The Lobos will automatically advance to the quarterfinal and play the winner of the Air Force vs. San Diego State matchup on Monday, March 8.
Jesus Mata is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JesusMataJr99