Lobos pick up huge road win at Wyoming
LARAMIE, Wyo. – A year ago, the University of New Mexico and the University of Wyoming women’s basketball teams played three times, twice in the regular season as usual and once in the Mountain West Tournament. All three of those games went the way of Wyoming to give the Cowgirls a six-game winning streak over the Lobos heading into Saturday afternoon’s game in Laramie. That streak, however, came to an end as the Lobos dealt the Cowgirls their first loss at home this season, 78-75.
In being the first opponent to win inside Wyoming’s Arena-Auditorium this season, the Lobos (15-2, 5-1 MW) turned in one of their best overall offensive performances of the season in terms of shooting percentage, while also withstanding a potent three-point attack by the Cowgirls (9-5, 2-3 MW).
On Saturday, the Lobos recorded their second-highest field goal percentage overall this season as they shot 53% (30-of-57). It was just the second time that UNM has shot over 50% in a game this season. From three-point range, the Lobos shot their highest percentage with a clip of 44% (11-of-25). Defensively, the Lobos, who were the top three-point percentage defense in the Mountain West coming into the game, were tested by the Cowgirls. Wyoming would go on to make 12 three’s and shoot 44% from deep. It was the most threes made by a Lobo opponent this season and the second-highest percentage as well.
All of that, however, allowed the Lobos to ride the waves of what was an entertaining back-and-forth affair and ultimately come out on top.
— Lobo Women’s Basketball (@UNMLoboWBB) January 19, 2019
All told, there were six tie scores and 16 lead changes in the game. Additionally, the largest lead for either team was nine points by the Lobos late in the second quarter.
To begin the game, the Lobos opened on a 6-0 run through the first two and a half minutes or so of the game. The Cowgirls then responded with a 9-0 run of their own over the next two minutes of game time to take their first lead in the game. With 2:20 to play in the opening quarter, Bre’Asiajah Mathews made a pair of free throws that triggered the first of four lead changes over that final stretch of the opening period.
After making just one three-pointer in the first quarter, the Lobos made four in the second quarter to close the gap with the Cowgirls, who made three in the first quarter. The long-range shooting helped spark the Lobo offense, but the defense also hit another gear in the quarter as the Lobos forced the Cowgirls to turn the ball over five times, which turned into 10 points on the other end. By the end of the half, the Lobos had a seven-point lead, 36-29.
The Cowgirls controlled the first two and a half minutes out of the locker room, however, as they went on a 7-0 to knot the game at 36-all. Aisia Robertson broke the run with just under 7:30 to play to keep the Lobos out in front. Over the nest four minutes or so of play, both teams traded blows as the score was tied four times with the last coming at the 3:39 mark of the quarter.
Wyoming then went out in front on a layup by Bailee Cotton at the 3:08 mark. The Cowgirls remained in the lead until the final minute when the Lobos closed out on a 5-0 run to take a 57-56 lead into the fourth quarter. That 5-0 run was started by Jayla Everett burying a three-pointer and then closed out by Robertson laying one in off glass as time expired.
Now leading by a point, Wyoming grabbed a four-point lead with 6:47 to play thanks to a three-pointer by Taylor Rusk. A minute later, Rusk gave the Cowgirls their largest lead of the game, six points, as she layed one in at the 5:40 mark.
Trailing by that margin with 4:12 on the clock, Everett knocked down a trifecta to cut the deficit in half, 68-65. The Cowgirls pushed the lead back out to five points, but baskets by Jaisa Nunn and Robertson brought the Lobos to within a single point with 2:22 to play.
After Wyoming’s Marta Gomez missed a three, Robertson came away with the defensive rebound. Robertson then came down the court and gave the Lobos the lead once more, 72-70, as she stepped into a three. The Lobos then turned over the Cowgirls and it was Robertson finishing on the other end to complete a personal 7-0 in a minute of play.
Gomez, who had a hot hand all night, brought the game back to just a point as she knocked down a three with 43 seconds to go. It was Gomez’s sixth three-pointer of the game.
Following that Nunn was fouled and went to the line for two with 17 seconds to play. To that point, the Lobos had only shot six free throws and were 3-of-6. Nunn made good on both shots to make it a three-point game. On the other end, the Cowgirls elected to drive the lane rather than look for the tying three-pointer and layed on in relatively easily with 13 seconds.
Having to foul twice to send the Lobos to the line, Everett eventually got there with 10 seconds to go. A true freshman, Everett came into the game leading the Mountain West in free throw percentage at 82%. Not fazed by the moment, Everett swished both attempts to effectively seal the game. The Cowgirls would get off a last-second shot to tie the game, but it was no good.
The Lobos had three players in double figures with Aisia Robertson leading the way with 24 points on 11-of-18 shooting (61%). Even more impressive was the fact that all but four of Robertson’s points came in the second half alone and 12 of those in the fourth quarter. Joining Robertson in double-figure scoring was Jaisa Nunn with 16 points and Jayla Everett with 14 points.
The Lobos will now return home for a Wednesday night game against UNLV on January 23. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit.