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Bench production helps lift Lobos to 74-56 win vs. Utah State

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team got back to their winning ways on Wednesday night as they defeated Utah State by a score of 74-56 in front of a crowd of 4,749 inside Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit.
A major catalyst for the Lobos (21-4, 11-3 MW) picking up the win was an increased production from their bench, especially on the offensive end. In the game, the Lobos out-scored the Aggies (11-14, 6-8 MW) 32-5 in bench points. All but five of those bench points came from Jaedyn De La Cerda and Antonia Anderson as the two key reserves each scored in double figures.
De La Cerda was an offensive spark for the Lobos in the first half as she scored 11 of her 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting overall and 3-of-5 from three-point range. Anderson, who went on to score 13 points in the game, was also a key scorer in the first half with five points on a perfect 2-of-2 shooting.
That first half was a close contest that featured four lead changes. The Lobos opened the game as good as they could offensively with a 5-0 run through the first minute or so, but the Aggies responded with a 10-0 run of their own to take a 10-5 lead at the 6:43 mark of the first quarter.
The Aggies would maintain that lead until the 1:35 mark when De La Cerda buried her second-straight trifecta, giving the Lobos an 18-16 lead. Utah State answered back with a three of their own and added a layup in the final minute to take a 21-18 lead into the second quarter.
The second quarter was when the tide started to turn for the Lobos on both ends of the court. After the Aggies shot 46% overall and out-rebounded the Lobos 14-6 in the first quarter, the second quarter saw the defense for UNM start to clamp down as the Aggies shot just 24% overall and the rebounding overall was in favor of the Lobos, 11-10.
Through the first six minutes of the second quarter play was extremely tight as neither team held a lead larger than four points. That changed at the 2:27 mark as Ahlise Hurst knocked down a three-pointer to give the Lobos their largest lead of the game to that point, seven, 36-29. The Lobos would take a four-point lead into the break, 38-34.
After having scored the final two points of the second quarter, the Aggies surged out in front of the Lobos by five with a 9-0 run to open the third quarter. That run was snapped by Jaisa Nunn with a layup at the 6:23 mark.
That Nunn bucket was the start of a 6-0 spurt by the Lobos to give them the lead, 44-43, with 5:31 to go in the third. After that, the Lobos and Aggies traded trifectas to keep UNM out in front by a point. The lead would change hands twice more over the next two and a half minutes as neither team was able to gain separation.
The last of those lead changes was the final lead change of the game and was in favor of the Lobos on a straight-away three-pointer by Anderson. Anderson’s three sparked an 8-2 run to close out the third quarter.
Quarter number four was completely dominated by the Lobos. Through the first seven minutes of the period, the Lobos out-scored the Aggies 17-2 to give UNM their largest lead of the game at 20 points, 72-52, with 2:50 left on the clock. The rest of the game, the Aggies were only able to trim the deficit down to 16 points before the Lobos ended with an 18-point margin of victory.
In addition to the increased scoring production by Anderson and De La Cerda off the bench, the Lobos still got scoring from a lot of the usual suspects as Nunn, Jayla Everett and Aisia Robertson all scored in double figures to give UNM five for the game. It was just the second time this season that the Lobos have had five players score in double figures.
With an overall balanced scoring attack, Nunn was the team-leader in that category with 15. Robertson would pace the offense with nine assists. Anderson shared the team-lead in rebounding at seven with Nike McClure.
The Lobos will next be in action in a week as they have the bye date this coming Saturday. UNM’s next opponent will be San Jose State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit.