On Saturday, Feb. 4 the University of New Mexico women's basketball team upset the San Diego State University Aztecs 83-78. The Lobos are now 14-10 overall and 6-5 in conference play. The Aztecs are second in the Mountain West conference with a 8-4 record.
It was the "Lobos Love Pink” game at The Pit to honor breast cancer survivors. Fans were dressed in pink, and the Lobos wore pink and white jerseys for the game.
The Lobos built an early lead and we're able to maintain it throughout the game. The Lobos won the rebounding battle 35-30 and made 56.9% of their shots, making 29 of their 51 attempts.
The Lobos had four players in double-digit scoring: Paula Reus and Aniyah Augmon came off the bench and led the way in scoring with 17 points each. Vianè Cumber scored 16 points and made four of her six 3-pointers.
Sophia Ramos had a great game for the Aztecs with 21 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Yummy Morris scored 18, making eight of her 12 shots. Mercedes Staples had 17 points — mostly coming from the 3-point line — making five of her 13 attempts.
At the start of the game, the Lobos turned the ball over which led to an Abby Prohaska layup. Cumber and Reus made back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Lobos the lead. LaTora Duff then stole the ball and went all the way to the basket for a layup. Cumber made her second 3-pointer to cap off a 15-0 run which forced the Aztecs to call a timeout down 15-4 with 5:24 left in the first quarter.
Out of the timeout, Staples ended the run with a 3-pointer. San Diego switched to a full-court press, but the Lobos were able to break the press by finding open teammates near the basket. In the first half, Morris was able to exploit the Lobos' defense with post-up opportunities scoring on three straight possessions — but the Lobos' offense stayed consistent. Going into the second quarter, the Lobos were up 27-17.
Staples started the quarter with a 3-pointer, but Cumber responded with a 3-pointer of her own. Augmon drove the lane for an easy layup to add to the Lobo lead. The Lobos were on a 6-0 run and up 38-22 at the media timeout with 4:47 left in the half.
Ramos and Staples both made 3-pointers, but the Lobos offense did not go stagnant with Reus scoring 5 straight. Staples ended the half with her fourth 3-pointer. The Lobos were up 45-31 going into the third quarter. The Lobos’ offense was incredible, scoring from the 3-point line and penetrating the Aztec defense with drives into the lane. On defense, they forced eight turnovers, but Morris and Staples were giving the Lobos problems with post-ups and 3-pointers, respectively.
The Aztecs scored 5 straight to start the half, but Shaiquel McGruder scored on back-to-back possessions to protect the Lobo lead. McGruder scored a layup to put the Lobos up 55-41 with 4:55 left in the third quarter.
Out of the timeout, Augmon was able to run by her defender for a layup and later, with three seconds on the shot clock, she did the exact same play. The Lobos were up 62-49 going into the fourth quarter.
Staples made her fifth 3-pointer at the start of the quarter, but then Cumber hit a 3-pointer. Morris was able to stay in the post and score in the paint to chip away at the Lobos' lead. UNM was up 72-65 with 5:14 left in the game.
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Reus scored with a jump shot and forced a miss by Morris on defense. Both offenses went stagnant at the end of the quarter and it came down to making free throws. LaTora Duff made two free throws, but Ramos responded with a 3-pointer. The Lobos were up 77-71 with 58 seconds in the game.
The Lobos inbounded the ball and LaTascya Duff was immediately fouled. She made both free throws. The Lobos forced a miss, and this time LaTora Duff went to the free-throw line and made both free throws. Ramos scored another 3-pointer. The Lobos were up 83-76 with 19.4 seconds on the clock.
Reus was fouled but missed both free throws, and the Lobos gave up an easy layup to Kim Villalobos. With 2.7 seconds left, the Lobos forced a miss and won the game 83-78.
Head coach Mike Bradbury said both teams had a great offensive performance and thanked the 5,143 fans in attendance.
"Good game, hard-fought game. I thought both teams were really good offensively. I thought both teams were shooting at a high rate and it was a fun game to be a part of. I appreciate that crowd coming out especially for breast cancer awareness. It was nice to get a good crowd in here," Bradbury said.
After the game, Augmon said her role on the team is to be the “Energizer Bunny” and help keep the tempo up for the team.
"It's like the Energizer Bunny: you put the batteries in and just go. I just think my team needs energy sometimes and coming off the bench I think I'm able to provide that and so that's been my role. Even from last year a little bit: come off the bench and make sure I have a high energy and energy is really contagious," Augmon said.
The Lobos next play in Boise, Idaho against Boise State University on Thursday, Feb. 9.
Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @thomasbulger10