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Lobos Defeat Bulldogs to Extend Win Streak to Eight Games

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Saturday afternoon at The Pit proved that any given Lobo could step up in any given game.

For the second-straight game, it was Antonia Anderson who led the Lobo women’s basketball team with a game-high 22 points and a team-high 11 rebounds in the 80-74 victory over Fresno State. Coming off of a 30-point performance shooting three-pointers in the last game, Anderson relied on production at the rim for most of her points, while also credited with five assists and game highs of three steals and two blocks. It was Anderson’s third double-double of the season and second-straight 20-plus point game.

Paula Reus backed up her 17-point performance in the last game with an even better 19 points, a season high for the freshman, including nine points in the fourth quarter on 4-for-5 shooting. The Lobo also finished with eight rebounds and has finished in double figures in the last three games.

LaTora Duff provided the spark for the Lobos early on in Saturday’s game, opening the scoring with a three-pointer, and continued to make three in the first 10 minutes to finish with 11 points in the quarter and 17 points in the game.

The Lobos scored the first five points of the game and proceeded to get out to a 10-2 run off of an Anderson steal and LaTora fast-break layup in the first four minutes. Fresno State answered back to cut the lead in half, but LaTora’s third three-pointer pushed the lead back up to eight at 18-10. The Bulldogs got to within one possession at 22-19 with 1:29 to play in the opening 10 minutes, which would hold through the end of the first.

LaTora led all scorers with 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the floor and 3-for-4 from distance, with Jaedyn De La Cerda contributing three assists and three rebounds and Anderson tallying three rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block.

After a Reus jumper led to a 24-21 Lobo lead, Fresno State went on a 5-1 run to take its first lead of the game before Reus put the Lobos back in front with a turnaround jumper. However, the Bulldogs strung together a 9-0 run to pull ahead 34-27, to which LaTascya Duff ended the run with a three-pointer for her 22nd-consecutive game with a three-pointer. Fresno State led by nine, 47-38, at the break.

Reus led the Lobos with seven points in the second quarter, while De La Cerda again led with three assists. De La Cerda finished with nine assists and nine points in the contest, to go along with five rebounds, two steals and a block.

Fresno State opened the third quarter with a basket to push the deficit to 11, but the Lobos chipped away at the gap with Anderson serving as the catalyst. The Lobo forward, who played in her 135th-career game as a Lobo on Saturday to break the program record, battled to grab her own rebound off of a miss and put it back up for two to start the Lobo run. A De La Cerda steal turned into a Shaiquel McGruder fast-break layup, and after another defensive stop and rebound by De La Cerda, an Anderson layup brought the Lobos within five at 49-44. Two Anderson free throws continued the run to make it a one-possession game a little less than halfway through the quarter before the Bulldogs scored to end the 8-0 run. Anderson and Reus both split a pair of free throws to again make it a three-point game and after a Bulldog basket, De La Cerda drained a corner three to bring the Lobos within two.

The Bulldogs again extended their lead to five with 1:29 left in the quarter, but the Lobos closed with an Anderson layup and an Anderson steal and layup in the span of 24 seconds to make it a one-point game. Fresno State led 58-55 at the end of three, but the Lobos outscored the Bulldogs 17-11 in the quarter to keep within reach.

Anderson led the way with 11 points in the third, tying the entire team total for Fresno State, and added five rebounds and two steals in the quarter.

Anderson’s impact continued onto the fourth, with two free throws for a one-point margin and Anderson provided the momentum changing play with an offensive rebound and putback to tie the game at 59. Fresno State took the lead back on the next possession, but a LaTascya three gave UNM its first lead since 27-26 at 62-61 with 7:17 to play. The Bulldogs answered with a three to retake the lead, but a Reus layup provided the final tie at 64.

Following a Reus steal, LaTora finished on the other end with a fast-break layup to put the Lobos in front for what was the final lead change of the game. New Mexico continued the run on a Reus offensive rebound and layup and a LaTascya three to go up by seven as part of a 9-0 run. Fresno State ended the run with a three, but Reus answered on the other end on the next possession with a three of her own and added a jumper with 2:01 remaining to extend the lead to nine at 76-67.

The Bulldogs got within four with less than a minute remaining in the game, but LaTora made four consecutive free throws to put the game away. Fresno State added a final basket with nine seconds left, but the Lobos were able to dribble out the clock for the six-point win.

New Mexico outscored Fresno State 25-16 in the final quarter, led by Reus’ nine points and four rebounds. LaTascya was a perfect 2-for-2 from three in the fourth and Anderson closed with four points, three rebounds and two assists. In the final 20 minutes, Anderson recorded a near double-double with 15 points and eight rebounds, with Reus at 10 points and six rebounds.

In addition, in the final two quarters, UNM outscored Fresno State 42-27.

With the win, the Lobos improved to 16-4 overall, 7-0 in the MW and 10-0 at The Pit this season.

The Lobos have a quick turnaround, set to play San José State on Monday, Jan. 24 at 5:30 p.m., a rescheduled game from the end of December that was postponed due to COVID.