Lobos heat up in win over ’Pack
UNM bounces back with season-best shooting effort
Shooting slump officially over.
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team got its stroke back Saturday and rode it to a wire-to-wire, 85-74 victory over Nevada in front of an announced 6,316 fans at Dreamstyle Arena.
Jayla Everett scored 24 points to lead four Lobos in double figures as UNM (19-3, 9-2 Mountain West) remained one game behind first-place Boise State in the conference standings. The Broncos defeated last-place San Jose State 83-69 on Saturday.
New Mexico coach Mike Bradbury and his players were more concerned about their own business coming off a 61-59 loss at San Diego State. UNM shot a season-worst 32 percent from the field in that Wednesday contest.
Saturday was a different story. The Lobos shot a season-best 58..5 percent (31 of 53) from
the field and effectively fought off every run the Wolf Pack (8-14, 4-7) could throw at them.
“I couldn’t hit a shot to save my life in San Diego,” said Everett, who was 7 for 13 from the field and hit all six of her free throws Saturday. “It felt really good to come out and see some go in in the first quarter. That really helped my confidence.”
Jaisa Nunn added 22 points for UNM, and Antonia Anderson scored 11 off the bench. Aisia Robertson, who fouled out at San Diego State, atoned with 18 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and a pair of steals against Nevada.
“We got knocked off our high horse in San Diego and I had a talk with myself,” Robertson said. “The two (MWC) losses we’ve had I fouled out. I can’t put myself in that position. I need to avoid early fouls and be smart so I can play free in the second half.”
New Mexico led from its first possession to the final horn, building a 16-point advantage in the second quarter. But as has been the case with most of UNM’s conference games, this one was still up for grabs until the closing minutes.
Nevada used its impressive post game to outscore UNM 42-40 in the paint and hit just enough perimeter shots to stay within striking distance. The Lobos led 64-53 after three quarters but Da’Ja Hamilton hit back-toback 3-pointers to trim the margin to 64-59 early in the fourth.
Ahlise Hurst, who had fallen down attempting to guard Hamilton on one of the 3-pointers, then answered with a key 3-pointer to stem the Wolf Pack’s rally.
“Ahlise doesn’t always score much but that was a huge 3,” Lobo coach Mike Bradbury said. “All in all we were pretty sharp offensively. Pretty good performance, I’d say.”
UNM spent more time than usual working on offensive execution in its two practices leading up to Saturday’s game. Bradbury said that had little to do with his team’s poor outing at San Diego State.
“It was really because of the way we played in Nevada,” Bradbury said, referring to his team’s 66-64 win in Reno on Jan. 5. “Our post players were non-existent out there. Nevada took them away and we had to do a better job getting them involved.”
It was mission accomplished Saturday as Nunn scored twice on lobs from Robertson in the game’s first three minutes. The senior, who scored a season-low five points in the teams’ first meeting, went 8 for 10 from the field. Anderson, meanwhile, was 5 for 7.
“We shot a high percentage because we got high-percentage shots,” Bradbury said. “When Jaisa’s getting the ball around the basket, she’s going to make most of those.”
Post Imani Lacy scored a careerhigh 20 points to lead the Wolf Pack, which dominated the boards in the first half but ended up with just a 34-33 rebounding edge.
“Against Nevada, I’ll take that,” Bradbury said. “They’re a big, physical team that can beat you up inside, but our players competed.”
UNM’s Jayla Everett, right, launches a 3-point shot over Nevada’s Emma Torbeert on Saturday. Everett scored a game-high 24 points.
New Mexico’s Aisia Robertson drives to the basket during Saturday’s game. Robertson had 18 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.