The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team romped Grambling State University 86-50 Tuesday at The Pit. The win came in UNM’s first game back at home after three consecutive days of play at the Van Chancellor Classic. This win makes UNM 6-3 overall and 5-0 in The Pit so far this season.

Grambling State was not expected to be a particularly tough opponent for UNM. Both teams beat the University of Louisiana Monroe, but UNM did so by 21 points while Grambling State was only able to best Louisiana Monroe by eight



The first 27 minutes of play were largely given to the five starters — Shaiquel McGruder, Antonia Anderson, Jaedyn De La Cerda, LaTora Duff and LaTascya Duff — who dominated Grambling State with occasional help from Paula Reus, Vianè Cumber and Kath van Bennekom off the bench.

As is often true in basketball, shooting made the difference in the game. Four UNM players — Anderson, De La Cerda, LaTora Duff and LaTascya Duff — made a three in the first quarter alone. Grambling State’s guards were not a threat to score from outside, which allowed UNM to play slightly off of them and prevent them from creating offense.

LaTora Duff, LaTascya Duff and De La Cerda played just as one would expect a trio of skilled guards would in their fourth year together — skillfully and in tune with one another. Having all three of them in the game at the same time was a luxury for UNM as, even without the ball, De La Cerda still had to be guarded while the Duffs brought the ball up the court. De La Cerda is uniquely good at creating scoring opportunities in two-on-two or three-on-three situations, and the Lobos were constantly looking to get her the ball around midcourt.

McGruder had her second double-double of the season with 22 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three steals. Anderson was highly efficient, shooting 5-6 from the field.

After the game, head coach Mike Bradbury said while UNM wasn’t making a concerted effort to go to either McGruder or Anderson during their playing time, the two forwards were able to be productive in the flow of the offense and in transition.

Reus, who has struggled to shoot efficiently at times this season, scored six points, grabbed four rebounds and tallied four assists, the best of which was an impressive skip pass from the post to find a wide-open Mackenzie Curtis on the opposite wing. Passes like that particularly excite Bradbury, even as Reus is still learning to score at the Division I level.

“I don’t know that we’ve got anyone else on the team who can make that pass,” Bradbury said. “She just knows how to play, and I’m telling you … She makes all those shots in practice. They just haven’t went in in a game.”

The last three minutes of the third quarter and all of the fourth featured the Lobos bench, which includes six freshmen and two sophomores. The bench still managed to win the fourth quarter 16-14, though there were some rough patches.

Though the freshmen and sophomores have less experience, the group also lacks a reliable ball-handler at the moment, with Aniyah Augmon and Rebekah Renczes being the closest candidates. Augmon is a fantastic defender, but she needs to tighten her handle to run an offense well. Renczes is still not aggressive enough. Zeyno Șeren is a good athlete, but her shot needs improvement. And while Mackenzie Curtis has a phenomenal shot, she still needs improved footspeed to be reliable on defense.

Tuesday’s win was also Bradbury’s 100th as a UNM head coach, a milestone that has only been reached once before in the history of UNM women’s basketball.

UNM will get a short break this week before playing New Mexico State University on Friday at The Pit and then again in Las Cruces on Sunday.

Matthew Salcido is the sports editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at sports@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @baggyeyedguy