Big second quarter carries Lobos to hard-fought exhibition win against Lubbock Christian
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team welcomed in one of the top programs from the NCAA Division II ranks in Lubbock Christian on Tuesday night for the Lobos’ first exhibition game of the 2018-19 season. Already with an exhibition win over DI Southern Methodist University this season, LCU proved to be a solid test indeed, but thanks in part to a big second quarter, the Lobos came away with a hard-fought 62-55 win in front of a crowd of 4,240 inside Dreamstyle Arena.
Coming into the game on Tuesday night, Lubbock Christian was 4-1 all-time in their exhibition games against NCAA Division I opponents. Their lone loss prior to Tuesday night came against UCONN in 2015.
In Tuesday’s game, UNM’s lone returning starter from the 25-11 squad from a year ago, Jaisa Nunn, scored the first points for the Lobos as she made a layup on the team’s initial possession. Nunn then scored the next four points for the Lobos to jump out to a quick scoring effort. During that time, LCU kept pace with the Lobos as two points was the largest margin of a lead for either team until a painted jumper by Ahlise Hurst gave the Lobos a three-point lead, 10-7, with 1:36 to play in the opening quarter.
The Lady Chaps would close that gap and ended the quarter on a 5-0 run to take a 12-10 lead.
The turning point of the game came in the second quarter thanks to improved shooting for the Lobos. In the opening quarter, UNM struggled to get into a rhythm shooting the ball as they shot 28% overall, but did not make a three-pointer on nine attempts. In the second quarter, however, the Lobos shot 44% overall from the floor and buried a pair of trifectas to help energize the crowd.
Fueling a lot of that increased efficiency was the play of Shaiquel McGruder coming off the bench. With the Lobos trailing by three with 8:20 in the quarter, McGruder drew an and-one opportunity that she completed to knot the game at 14-all. Seconds later, McGruder had another and-one to put the Lobos up by three, 17-14. McGruder then capped a personal 8-0 run with a fastbreak layup.
A three by the Lady Chaps’ Bobbi Chitsey at the 5:41 mark broke the Lobo run, but the momentum was picked back up on consecutive three’s by Aisia Robertson. The Lobos carried that momentum the remainder of the quarter and took a 32-20 lead in to the break.
In the third quarter, UNM grew their out to 15 points, 39-24, with 6:13 remaining in the quarter. A quick 4-0 burst by LCU threatened the double-digit lead, but the Lobos were able to maintain it thanks to a layup by Nunn. The Lady Chaps were able to trim the deficit to single digits at the 3:38 mark, but a 7-0 run that was capped by a corner three by Emily Lines gave the Lobos their largest lead of the game, 16, with 1:14 remaining in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, LCU methodically began to climb back in the game, trimming the lead of UNM down to just five points, 54-49, with 3:17 to play. Despite being relatively cold from long range for much of the game, the Lobos buried those shots in the clutch to help pull away from LCU.
The first of those was a straightaway three by Robertson. Robertson then came away with a steal on the other end of the court and passed it off to Jaedyn De La Cerda for a corner three to suddenly put the Lobos up 11, 60-49, and prompt a timeout by LCU with 1:24 to go.
LCU was able to eventually come within single digits by the final horn, but the lead remained comfortable for the Lobos.
- The Lobos had scoring from eight different players with Jaisa Nunn and Aisia Robertson reaching double figures. Nunn led the team with 17 points followed by Robertson’s 15.
- A balanced playing effort saw all 13 players get action on the court but no one clocked more than 25 minutes.
- The bench played a big role for the Lobos with 24 points. Shaiquel McGruder and Jaedyn De La Cerda paced the effort with 17 combined points (De La Cerda 9, McGruder 8).
- In specialty stats, the Lobos held advantages in Points Off Turnovers (21-15), 2nd Chance Points (10-5), Bench Points (27-10) and Points in the Paint (30-20).
- The Lobos also out-rebounded LCU 40-36.
- Jaisa Nunn and Antonia Anderson led the team in rebounds with nine each. Nunn fell one rebound shy of a double-double.
- Aisia Robertson paced the offense with a team-high five assists, followed by Jayla Everett with four.