The University of New Mexico women's basketball team defeated rival New Mexico State University 65-64 on Sunday, Dec. 11. The Lobos looked to rectify the 73-64 overtime loss from their Tuesday, Nov. 15 matchup in Las Cruces.
The score was close throughout the entire game: the Lobos were able to gain a lead but nearly gave it up in the final minutes. UNM was out-rebounded and gave up 21 turnovers; it was 3-point shooting and clutch free throws that won the game.
It was a good team win with four Lobos in double digit scoring, but it was Shaiquel McGruder who had a team high 16 points and scored a free throw to put the Lobos up by 1 in the final seconds. Vianè Cumber scored 15 and made four of her five 3-pointers.
For the Aggies, Molly Kaiser led the team with 16 points, and Syena Peterson scored 13 and made one of the Aggies’ two 3-pointers.
NMSU scored the first points of the game, but Lobo Amaya Brown answered right back with a jump shot. The Aggies were able to exploit the Lobo defense by driving toward the basket and getting to the free-throw line; it was the Lobos who kept the game close with their 3-point shooting. The Lobos made four of their nine 3-point attempts with Cumber hitting two. The Lobos were down 19-17 going into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, Lobo Aniyah Augmon tied the game with a layup, and Cumber made her third 3-pointer. However, the Lobos were struggling to gather the ball on defense giving up three offensive rebounds before Aggie Shania Harper scored on a layup. The Lobos were down 29-28 at the media timeout with 4:43 left in the quarter.
Out of the timeout, the Lobos started a full-court press that immediately led to an Aggie turnover. LaTascya Duff hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start a 12-0 run to end the half to put the Lobos up 40-31.
The Aggies then scored 5 unanswered points; LaTora Duff then scored on a layup. McGruder scored on a fastbreak off of a turnover which led to the media timeout where the Lobos were able to maintain their lead up 46-38 with 4:51 left in the third quarter.
Out of the timeout, LaTascya Duff made a 3-pointer but the Aggies scored 5 straight with the Lobo offense stalling out with multiple turnovers. The Lobos were still up 54-47 going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Cumber made her fourth 3-pointer of the game, but the Aggies kept scoring with easy layups. Four straight turnovers allowed NMSU to cut into the Lobo lead. New Mexico called a timeout up just 57-55 with 4:45 left in the game.
Out of the timeout, the Lobos gave up their fifth straight turnover and the Aggies tied up the game. Back on offense, the Lobos were called for a charge — their sixth straight turnover. The Lobos were on a near six-minute scoring drought when McGruder scored on a layup to put the Lobos back in front. Augmon made one of her free throws which led to NMSU calling a timeout down 60-57 with 2:03 left in the game.
With under a minute left, the Lobos were up by 3 points and got a defensive stop. Augmon was then called for a charge, though, giving the Aggies the ball. Kaiser made a layup to put the Aggies within 2 points. Kaiser then tied the game 64-64 with 17 seconds left. McGruder was fouled and made just one of her free throws, but the Lobos were able to force a bad shot for the final possession and won the game 65-64.
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After the game, head coach Mike Bradbury gave credit to the crowd and to the Aggies, calling it a competitive game.
"I thought it was a great crowd. They were loud. I thought it was a good atmosphere against a really tough team, and now we've played two really tough games against them this year and fortunately, we got out of there with a win today … Both teams competed really hard. I thought it was competitive throughout … That was just a hard-fought, competitive game," Bradbury said.
In her press conference, McGruder talked about preparing for the rematch and sinking the winning free throw.
"They got us down there so this is something that we really worked hard for and we wanted. Being able to contribute to it means a lot," McGruder said.
The Lobos improved to a 6-4 record and will next play against Old Dominion University in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, Dec. 20.
Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @thomasbulger10