The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team beat Colorado State 68-55 in the Lobos’ first official home game of the season at the Pit on Thursday, March 4. The team can clinch the No. 1 seed in the Mountain West Conference tournament with a win against CSU on March 5 in the final game of the regular season.
The Lobos took sole possession of first place in the conference with the victory.
The Lobos had five players that scored in double figures, contributing all but four of the team’s total 68 points. Junior forward Shaiquel McGruder led UNM with 16 points, while senior guard Antonia Anderson brought down 11 rebounds.
While no fans were allowed in attendance, Thursday night’s game was UNM’s first back in New Mexico and in the Pit that the Lobos — either the women or the men — have played all season.
“I thought you had two teams that competed, and I know they were well-coached and well-prepared,” head coach Mike Bradbury said in a postgame press conference. “Credit to them for really disrupting what we were trying to do offensively.”
Bradbury also commended the way his team rose to the challenge against a formidable opponent, who came into the night atop the conference by the slimmest of margins.
“Proud of my team that they hung in there and had to try (a different strategy) today,” Bradbury said. “Sometimes you have to do that, especially when you’re playing the best team in the league.”
UNM had to hold on after Colorado State came back and made the score 44-42 with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
“You knew they weren’t going to go away — they’re in first place for a reason,” Bradbury said.
The 13-point win sets up a winner-take-all contest at 5 p.m. in Friday night’s finale at the Pit. The No. 1 seed in the postseason awaits the victor of the final game in what has been perhaps the most unusual NCAA basketball season in history.
Jesus Mata is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JesusMataJr99