Open Announce

Lobos Advance to MW Semifinals Following Win Over SDSU

LAS VEGAS, Nev.— There was no shortage of excitement on Monday night at the Thomas & Mack Center as the Lobo women’s basketball team prevailed over San Diego State in the Mountain West Quarterfinals by a score of 63-60.

The offensive star of the night was Jaedyn De La Cerda, who finished with a game-high 26 points that included four three-pointers and clutch free throws with five seconds remaining to push the Lobo lead to three points.

LaTora Duff also finished in double figures with 15 points, but perhaps her biggest play of the game came on the defensive end of the floor, with seven seconds remaining and the Lobos leading by one, drawing a charge to give possession back to New Mexico.

Shaiquel McGruder grabbed 10 rebounds, tying the game high but leading the Lobos, and Aniyah Augmon led with two steals off of the bench. McGruder and Antonia Anderson each recorded a block, the only two in the game by either team.

After two ties in the first two minutes, UNM went on a 10-0 run led by two Duff free throws and a three-pointer and a jumper and three-pointer by De La Cerda to lead 13-4 with 6:11 left in the opening quarter, forcing an Aztec timeout.  Another three by De La Cerda kept the run going and pushed the lead to double digits at 12 before SDSU chipped away at the margin, getting it within three at the end of the quarter, 18-15 in favor of the Lobos.

De La Cerda led the way in the first quarter with eight points on 3-for-5 shooting, with Duff scoring five.

The Aztecs pulled within one at 18-17 and again at 20-19, but an Augmon steal and fast-break layup and consecutive layups by De La Cerda provided some separation. Following a SDSU basket at the 6:08 mark, there was a stalemate between both teams, neither team able to score for almost three minutes before SDSU pulled within one on two free throws with 3:11 remaining in the second. A Paula Reus layup on a LaTascya Duff assist pushed UNM back in front by three at 26-23, with the score at the half 26-25.

UNM had the edge in fast-break points at the break by a 9-0 margin, ultimately holding the edge at the game 13-1.

SDSU took its first lead of the game since it was 4-3 and the back-and-forth battle was on with exchanges of points and leads in the first 3:30 of the third quarter. UNM was able to gain some momentum on a De La Cerda layup and a LaTora three-pointer that put the Lobos ahead 44-40 with 2:05 left in the frame. SDSU again got back within one, but Reus delivered on the other end with a Reus layup after LaTascya found the freshman wide open in transition. Reus finished through contact for the and-one opportunity, converting at the line for the 49-45 Lobo lead. SDSU closed with a final basket for the 49-47 score at the end of the third.

LaTora led all scorers with 10 points in the quarter, while De La Cerda added seven points to her evening’s total.

An Anderson layup stretched the lead back to four 1:30 into the fourth quarter, but again, SDSU answered to cut the lead to one. However, LaTascya delivered with a three-pointer of her own to restore the four-point lead at 54-50. When the Aztecs used a 4-0 run to tie the game at 54, UNM responded with a De La Cerda three and an Anderson offensive rebound and putback for the five-point margin with 5:35 remaining.

Each time the Aztecs closed within one, the Lobos answered, with a De La Cerda layup that made it 61-58 with 3:10 to play. SDSU scored with 40 seconds left, setting up the monumental LaTora charge and De La Cerda free throws.

The Lobos advance to the MW semifinals to face No. 6 Colorado State on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. PT on the Mountain West Network.