The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team defeated New Mexico State University 77-58 at The Pit on Friday, Dec. 3, and won again 73-66 against NMSU in Las Cruces on Sunday, Dec. 5. The Dec. 3 win keeps the Lobos’ home streak alive and both wins now make their record 8-3.
In the first game, NMSU let a good opportunity for a win slip away against an at times desultory UNM team that was coming off of a two-week stretch that saw them play five games. The Lobos showed signs of fatigue throughout the game, ultimately ending with 21 turnovers, their most at home this season. UNM’s saving grace was once again their three-point shooting (54.17%).
UNM was carried in the first half by LaTora Duff and LaTascya Duff, who scored 17 and 11 points, respectively. Freshman forward Paula Reus also played well and finished the half by scoring the Lobos’ last seven points.
LaTora Duff had a particularly dazzling first half, shooting 6-10 from the field and 5-7 from three, which made it all the more concerning when she went down with 2:47 left in the half and had to be helped off the court.
Without LaTora Duff, UNM struggled to find their offense at the start of the second half, failing to score for the first four minutes and 32 seconds. During that period, the Lobos committed five turnovers, some simply by mishandling the ball.
It took an aggressive Jaedyn De La Cerda to right the teetering ship; she scored 15 second-half points. LaTascya Duff added another 11 points in the second half as well.
After the game, LaTascya Duff said the main aspects she would be looking at in the film session were defending against penetration and shot selection.
In the Dec. 5 match, the game-time decision as to if LaTora Duff would play after her injury in the last game was clear when she did start.
Still, UNM struggled in the first half largely due to poor offensive struggles by De La Cerda. The team shot 1-7 from three in the first quarter and recorded 12 turnovers in the first half alone.
Antonia Anderson was much more aggressive than usual and ended up scoring the third-most points on the team with 16. Reus played really well, scoring six points and providing much-needed interior defense. LaTora Duff led the team in points at 24 despite her recent injury, with Shaiquel McGruder not too far behind at 17.
The team was behind in every quarter but the last, when they managed to turn it around 28-10 against NMSU, snagging the winning score in the end.
The team will travel to Arizona to face their toughest opponent of the season, the University of Arizona Wildcats, for their next game on Dec. 12.
Matthew Salcido is the sports editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @baggyeyedguy