Lobos come up just short at Boise State
BOISE, Idaho – An unusual Monday night slate of Mountain West women’s basketball action to kick off the final week of the regular season featured the most-anticipated matchup of the season in Boise, Idaho. That’s where the University of New Mexico and Boise State University squared off with regular season championship implications on the line.
In the clash of the top-two teams in the MW standings, Boise State (24-4, 15-2 MW) emerged with a 70-66 win over New Mexico (23-5, 13-4 MW) on their home court to clinch the regular season crown. The Broncos will now be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. (March 10-13). The Lobos will still have a chance at securing the No. 2 seed in the tournament with win at home over Wyoming in the regular season finale this coming Thursday but can do no lower than the No. 3 seed.
Despite the outcome for the Lobos, Monday night’s game lived up to its billing as the game was a tight back-and-forth affair throughout. With five lead changes and four tie scores, the largest lead for either team was in single digits as the Broncos led by nine at the 2:31 mark of the third quarter.
The Broncos would carry that nine-point into the fourth quarter as they were up 52-43. While it may have seemed like the Broncos could pull away even further from the Lobos after having that lead through three quarters in front of their home fans inside the Taco Bell Center, the Lobos stormed back in the fourth quarter and brought the score to within a single four different occasions in the period.
The first of those instances came at the 7:05 mark as Aisia Robertson converted an and-one opportunity to make it a 55-52 game. The Broncos answered right back however with a three-pointer by Marta Hermida.
A 4-0 mini run by the Lobos followed and cut the deficit down to two points, 58-56, with 4:47 to play. As they did the first time UNM closed to within a possession, the Broncos answered right back with a bucket of their own to double the lead, this time to four points.
A three-pointer by the Broncos’ Riley Lupfer at the 3:16 mark pushed the lead up to seven for Boise State. Another 4-0 scoring burst by the Lobos that featured a painted jumper by Jayla Everett and a layup by Antonia Anderson brought the Lobos to within three points for the second time. For a third-straight time, Boise State had the answer, keeping the Lobos at arm’s length.
Trailing by seven points and under 30 seconds showing on the clock, Robertson banked in a three-pointer to make it 67-63 game. A pair of free throws by Boise followed to make it push the lead up to six with 19 seconds left. On the ensuing trip down the court, Robertson got an improbable three-pointer to find the bottom of the net and cut the Bronco lead in half.
A split trip to the line followed for Boise State, but it provided enough cushion for the Broncos to come away with the victory.
Statistically, the Lobos shot better than the Broncos in overall field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage, but Boise State made four more overall field goals and were able to turn 26 Lobo turnovers into 27 points on the other end.
Individually, the Lobos had three players score in double figures led by Robertson’s game-high 23 points. Everett was next on the team with 12 points and Anderson rounded out double-figure scoring with 10 points. In the rebounding department, Nunn hauled in 12 boards to lead all players.
The 12 rebounds for Nunn pushed her past another significant milestone as she has surpassed 900 rebounds in her career. Now standing with 908 rebounds, Nunn is the first player in Lobo women’s basketball history to have over 1,000 career points and 900 career rebounds. She also becomes just the sixth player in MW women’s basketball history to achieve the feat as well.
As mentioned previously, the Lobos will now turn their attention towards the regular season finale on Thursday night at home against Wyoming. That night will also be Senior Night for the Lobos as seniors Emily Lines, Nike McClure, Erica Moore and Jaisa Nunn will be honored at the conclusion of the game against the Cowgirls.