Lo­bos heat up in win over ’Pack

UNM bounces back with sea­son-best shoot­ing ef­fort

Albuquerque Journal - - SPORTS - BY KEN SICKENGER

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.

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