The Lobos defeated the University of Houston Cougars 68-61 on Saturday, Nov. 12. Going into the game, the Lobos looked to bounce back from their 76-68 loss against Southern Utah University.
UNM lost to Houston last season 89-60, in that game the Lobos had an abysmal 34 turnovers which led to 21 fastbreak points for the Cougars. A key to winning this game would be taking care of the basketball: the Lobos ended up with 24 turnovers, which nearly cost them the game, but they held on for the win.
Amaya Brown led UNM in points and rebounds with 16 and 11, respectively. She also had two steals and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line. Shaiquel McGruder scored 11 points and helped win the rebound battle with eight in the game.
Tatyana Hill led the Cougars in scoring with 20, and she had 11 rebounds with seven of them on the offensive end. The only other Cougar to have double-digit scoring was Laila Blair who had 18 points.
The game started with the Lobos scoring on back-to-back possessions. The Cougars then started a full court press that slowed the offense down. UNM stayed in front because of Houston's poor shooting, only making three of their 10 shots. At the first media timeout, the Lobos were up 10-6 with 4:20 left in the first quarter.
Out of the timeout, Aniyah Augmon hit a 3-pointer and McGruder had a steal, but Houston’s offense started to gain some momentum toward the end of quarter. The Lobos were up 15-12 going into the second quarter. Houston shot just 5-16 in the first quarter and missed all eight of their 3-point attempts. They were able to stay in the game by rebounding and forcing six turnovers.
LaTascya Duff scored the first points of the second quarter on a layup. LaTora Duff was then fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all of her free throws to build the Lobo lead. Three turnovers in a row allowed Houston to cut into the lead, though. UNM was up just 23-21 at the first media timeout despite having the lead 21-12 just three minutes prior.
Bria Patterson then put the Cougars within one, but Lobo Nia Johnson drove into the paint for an easy layup; the half ended with Johnson throwing up a half-court shot with less than a second on the clock. The Lobos were up 28-25 going into the third quarter. Houston's poor shooting continued in the second quarter, but were winning the rebound battle getting an impressive 11 offensive rebounds in the first half.
Blair hit a 3 to start the third quarter, putting the Cougars within 2 points. The Lobos responded with a 9-0 run that was ended with a pair of free throws from De'Myla Brown. The Lobos were up 41-36 with 4:56 left in the third quarter.
Turnovers continued to plague the Lobos after failing to inbound the ball. The Cougars pulled ahead with 2 layups from Hill. UNM was bailed out with the Cougars fouling; UNM shot and made 8 free throws in the last three minutes of the quarter. The Lobos were up 51-44 going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter started with back-to-back Lobo turnovers. They were called for a five-second violation after failing to inbound the ball. The Lobos stayed in front because of free throws and a McGruder layup that put them up by 8. Houston refused to give in, though, as they continued their press that forced turnovers and a couple of fouls from UNM. The Lobos were up just 63-59 with 1:58 left in the game.
Houston called their last timeout down 66-61 with 29 seconds to go. Latascya Duff then had a pair of free throws to secure the Lobo win, 68-61.
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox
In a press conference after the game, head coach Mike Bradbury gave his team a lot of credit and talked about going against a full-court press the entire game.
"I'm proud of our bunch: bouncing back and playing a really good, athletic, physical Houston team. I mean, they're well coached and they do what they do and they make it tough. I'm proud of our guys for being tough enough to play against that team … You can't just run certain press offenses and things like that. You really got to be able to adjust and be aggressive and attack all of the time. Proud of our bunch," Bradbury said.
The Lobos now have a 1-1 record on the season and next play rival New Mexico State University in Las Cruces on Monday, Nov. 15.
Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @thomasbulger10