Clutch play down the stretch leads to road win
LOGAN, Utah – The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team extended their winning streak out to five games on Saturday afternoon as they were clutch down the stretch and fended off Utah State for a quality 68-64 win on the road.
The win improves the Lobos to 17-2 overall and 7-1 in Mountain West play ahead of their coming mid-week bye. At 7-1, the Lobos are currently atop the conference standings as previously unbeaten in league play, Boise State lost on the road at Wyoming 64-52 to fall to 6-1.
In the game against Utah State on Saturday, the Lobos fell behind early as the Aggies scored the game’s first points on a three-pointer by Olivia West on the initial possession of the contest. That lead for the Aggies (10-8, 5-2 MW), however, lasted all of 14 seconds as the Lobos answered right back with a three of their own by Ahlise Hurst.
On what was being celebrated as Australia Day*, Hurst, a native of Bendigo, Australia, would go on to enjoy an 11-point opening quarter as she nearly out-scored Utah State on her own with the Aggies scoring 12 points. In the quarter, Hurst was 4-of-6 overall from the floor and 3-of-5 from three.
— Lobo Women’s Basketball (@UNMLoboWBB) January 26, 2019
The big opening period by Hurst helped the Lobos jump out to an 18-12 lead by the end of the first. UNM would remain in the lead heading into the locker room but were not able to really extend their lead out to a significant margin as they led by three, 32-29 at the break.
In the third quarter, UNM got off to a great start and within two minutes turned the modest halftime lead into a nine-point lead thanks to a quick 6-0 run. Twice more in the third quarter were the Lobos able to establish a nine-point lead but were unable to ever push the advantage into double-digits. The last of those instances came at the 6:56 mark on a layup by Hurst.
Over the next four and a half minutes or so action saw Utah State slowly work their way back into the game and eventually tie the score at 45-all with 2:31 to play in the third. During that stretch, the Aggies out-scored the Lobos 11-3 and nine of those points were scored by the league’s second-leading scorer in Shannon Dufficy.
After that, however, the Lobos closed out the third quarter on a 6-0 spurt to take a 51-45 lead into the final quarter. The exclamation point on the Lobo run was a wing three by freshman Quincy Noble as time expired.
In the fourth, Utah State opened the first minute and a half on a 4-0 spurt to bring the score to two points, 51-49 with 8:26 to play. About a minute later, true freshman Jayla Everett buried the first of her three trifectas in the fourth quarter to give the Lobos a five-point lead at the time.
The second triple by Everett came at the 5:37 mark and gave the Lobos their largest lead of the quarter, seven points, 60-53. The Aggies battled back and over the next four minutes or so of action went on a 9-2 to tie the game once more, this time with just 1:05 left to play.
After the tying bucket was made by Utah State’s Dufficy, the Lobos brought the ball into the front court and called a timeout. Out of the timeout, Everett’s number was called on a play that saw her get an open look for her third three-pointer of the quarter. Everett buried the try and pushed the Lobos back on top, 65-62 with 51 seconds to play.
On the Aggies’ ensuing possession, the Lobos forced a turnover and Everett was fouled and then went to the line where she split a pair of free throws. The Aggies would then miss a three-pointer that was hauled in Nike McClure and a quick foul of her granted two more chances at the line. McClure would split the tries and it was a five-point lead now with 13 seconds left.
Four seconds later, Dufficy scored her 26th points of the game and made it a one-possession game again. Everett then was fouled and again split a pair of free throws to put the game out of reach. A block out of bounds on a last-second three-pointer by Utah State was for good measure by the St. Louis native as the Lobos secured the 68-64 win.
Three Lobos scored in double figures with Everett’s 22 points leading the way. All six of her field goal makes came from beyond the arc as she was 6-of-8 from range. It was the third time this season and second-straight that Everett has scored 20 or more points in a game. Hurst and Jaisa Nunn were the other Lobos in double figures as each at 13 points in the game. Nunn also had 11 rebounds to record her eighth double-double of the season.
The Lobos will now have the mid-week bye and will next be in action at home on Saturday, February 2 against Fresno State. Tip-off for the game is scheduled for 2 p.m. inside Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit.
- January 26 is recognized as Australia Day, the official national day of Australia that marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip.
- Utah State started all five of their native Australians while UNM had Aussie Ahlise Hurst in the starting lineup as well.
All told, there were seven Australians between both rosters