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UNM Falls at UNLV Thursday

LAS VEGAS, Nev.— As expected, Thursday night’s game at UNLV was another closely contested, 40-minute battle.

However, the Lobo women’s basketball team came up short against the Lady Rebels, 85-79.

Shaiquel McGruder led the Lobos with 27 points and six rebounds, one of three Lobos to finish in double figures. LaTora Duff scored 17, going 7-for-10 from the floor to go with a team-high five assists, and Paula Reus scored 13 points with five rebounds and three assists. It was McGruder’s sixth game with 20-plus points, the fifth game in double figures for Reus and the 15th time this season for Duff.

Jaedyn De La Cerda opened the scoring with a three-pointer, with UNM taking a 7-2 lead early in the game that stretched to nine at 16-7. The Lobos held the Lady Rebels to nine points in the opening quarter with a 16-9 lead at the of the first.

McGrurder matched the entire UNLV point total in the first quarter with nine points and had two steals.

The scoring picked up in the second quarter, with the Lobos building a 10-point lead at 21-11 on a Reus layup. The Lady Rebels answered with a run to take a 28-23 lead, but the Lobos whittled away at the deficit with a run of their own to close the quarter, taking a 34-30 lead and a 34-32 lead into the break. Reus led with five points in the second quarter, with the freshman finishing with seven points in the first 20 minutes.

UNM continued to lead early in the third quarter, leading by as many as five at 39-34 on a De La Cerda free throw and again on a Duff three-pointer. UNLV tied the game at 42, which led to an exchange of baskets and lead changes over the next five minutes of play. The Lady Rebels closed the quarter with a 59-55 lead, setting up a battle in the fourth quarter.

LaTora stepped up in the third quarter with 10 of UNM’s 21 points, going 4-for-6 from the floor, followed by four more points for Reus.

The Lobos twice closed within two points in the fourth, with LaTascya Duff putting the Lobos back in front, 64-63, with 6:19 remaining. After UNLV retook the lead, McGruder answered with a fast-break layup to put UNM back in front. With UNLV holding a one-point lead, LaTascya made a free throw to create another tie before UNLV pulled ahead by eight at 79-71. The Lobos battled back with consecutive layups by McGruder and two McGruder free throws to close within two, and Reus tied the game on a layup with 54 seconds to play.

UNLV closed with the final six points in the game for the 85-79 win in which there were four lead changes and two ties in the fourth quarter and eight ties and 11 lead changes in the game.

McGruder was a perfect 6-for-6 in the fourth quarter, finishing with 14 points, while LaTascya and LaTora added four more points.

Following Thursday’s game, both UNM and UNLV stand at 8-1 in MW play with the Lobos having nine more conference games on the schedule.

The Lobos remain on the road with a quick turnaround at San Diego State, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 29 at 1 p.m. MT.