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Lobos Improve to 5-0 in Conference Behind 26 Points from McGruder in Win at Wyoming

LARAMIE, Wyo.— Led by Shaiquel McGruder’s 26 points and Jaedyn De La Cerda’s 19 points, the Lobo women’s basketball team cruised to an 85-76 win over the Wyoming Cowgirls, in which the Lobos never trailed.

Antonia Anderson finished with 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds, and additionally, scored her 1000th-career point on a three-pointer midway through the second quarter. In doing so, she became the 24th Lobo to score 1000 points and the 17th Lobo to score 1000 points, 500 rebounds in a career.

It is the fifth time this season that McGruder has scored 20-plus points in a game, the 14th time that De La Cerda has finished in double figures and the ninth time for Anderson. Further, Anderson has finished in double figures in the last three games and was the sixth-straight game for De La Cerda in double figures.

Paula Reus was the fourth Lobo to score in double figures, finishing with 12 points, and the second time this season that the freshman has finished in double figures.

Anderson and LaTora Duff led the Lobos with five assists each, with McGruder, Anderson and De La Cerda each recording two steals and McGruder credited with three blocks.

UNM made 13 three-pointers in the game, led by three each by McGruder and LaTascya Duff.

Reus was a perfect 2-for-2 from distance, McGruder went 11-for-14 with De La Cerda 7-for-12 on the night as the Lobos shot a season-best 57.6 percent from the floor and 52 percent from distance.

Of note, with the win, the Lobos improved to 14-4 on the season, 5-0 in the Mountain West. The night was another historic night for the Lobos, as UNM had never started 5-0 in the MW in program history. The last time the program started 5-0 in conference play was back in the 1998-99 season, when New Mexico was part of the WAC.

Anderson opened the game with a three-pointer, and scored the first five points for New Mexico in the game. McGruder made a three-pointer and De La Cerda made a layup to extend UNM’s lead to six at 10-4 less than three minutes into the game. The Lobos made their first five shots of the game to take control of the game.

A 7-0 run that included a Reus jumper and three-pointer pushed the Lobo lead to 11 at 26-15 with 38 seconds left in the quarter, with the Lobos taking a 26-17 at the end of the first quarter.

McGruder was already in double digits in the first quarter with 4-for-5 shooting from the floor and a perfect 2-for-2 from behind the arc, with De LaCerda starting off 3-for-4 from the floor for six points. UNM shot 73.3 percent from the floor in the first quarter, with four three-pointers.

The Lobos continued to stretch the lead using an 8-0 run that included a Reus layup and three-pointers from Reus and De La Cerda at the start of the second quarter to build a 15-point, 34-19 lead, and a De La Cerda layup with two minutes remaining in the quarter led to an 18-point lead at 46-28. Wyoming scored the final four points of the frame, with the Lobos taking a 46-32 lead into the break.

De La Cerda led with six points in the second quarter, led by Reus with five, with McGruder leading at the break with 14 points, De La Cerda with 12 and Reus with 10. Of note, Reus, Anderson and McGruder were all 2-for-2 from three and the Lobos shot 59.4 percent from the floor and 58.3 percent from three-point range in the first 20 minutes.

The Cowgirls cut into the lead in the third quarter, bringing the margin down to eight midway through the third, but De La Cerda hit two free throws and LaTora made a three to push the lead back to 13 at 55-42. De La Cerda scored the next five Lobo points to push the lead up to 16, but again Wyoming battled to narrow it down to 11.  McGruder made another three and Anderson made a layup to close the Lobo scoring as the Lobos took an 11-point lead into the final quarter, 65-54.

After being held scoreless in the first three quarters, LaTascya started the fourth quarter with back-to-back three-pointers, extending the Lobo lead to 17, while also extending her three-point streak to 20 games. The Cowgirls tried to cut into the lead, but LaTascya made her third three in the first four minutes of the fourth to push the margin back to 17. Wyoming cut the score down to seven with 13 seconds remaining, but LaTora closed the game with a final layup as time expired for the final score.

All nine of LaTascya’s points occurred in the fourth, leading with a perfect 3-for-3 shooting from three, and McGruder added seven more.

UNM remains on the road to face Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo., on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. on the Mountain West Network.