Historic Lobo Season Comes to a Close in Loss to Oregon State
CORVALLIS, Ore.— One of the greatest seasons in the history of Lobo women’s basketball came to a close on Thursday night, as New Mexico was edged out by Oregon State at Gill Coliseum.
With it came the close of the careers of Jaedyn De La Cerda and Antonia Anderson, with De La Cerda finishing with a stat sheet loaded 17 points, seven rebounds, three steals and a block and Anderson closing with nine points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
While Oregon State had the noticeable height advantage, the Lobos held their own with six blocks in the game and had six steals in the game, with the Beavers finishing with one in each category.
The Lobos came out firing from the start of the game, building an early 5-1 lead that kept steady at 10-6. After the Beavers cut it to one at 10-9, an LaTascya Duff three started an 8-0 run with an Anderson layup and another Duff three that made it 18-9 midway through the first quarter. UNM stretched the lead to 11 on another Duff three-pointer, with the senior going a perfect 5-for-5 in the first 10 minutes as the Lobos led 30-16 at the end of the first.
UNM shot 64.7 percent from the floor in the quarter and 66.7 percent from three-point range with eight three-pointers, with LaTora Duff 2-for-3 and Paula Reus 1-for-1. McGruder also led with three assists in the quarter as UNM assisted on seven of the 11 made baskets. On the other side, OSU made just six baskets in the quarter, shooting 31.6 percent.
Three LaTascya free throws extended the lead to 17 at the start of the second, with the lead reaching 18 at 40-22 on an Anderson three with 6:17 left in the second. The Beavers chipped away at the lead to close the quarter, getting it back to single digits with 2:02 to play. A McGruder layup with under a minute remaining in the quarter pushed the lead back to 10 at 44-34, but OSU scored the final basket of the half for the 44-38 Lobo lead at the break.
OSU got as close as four with two baskets to start the third quarter, but a McGruder three-pointer extended the lead to seven at 49-42 and a LaTascya jumper pushed the lead to eight at 51-43. However, the Beavers used a run to pull within one at 51-50 and on their following possession took their first lead since it was 1-0 at 53-51. A De La Cerda jumper tied the game at 53, and De La Cerda made the final shot of the quarter, a three-pointer to give UNM a 56-53 lead at the end of three.
The Beavers went on a run to start the fourth quarter to take a 61-56 lead two minutes into the quarter, but the Lobos found an answer with a run of their own on two De La Cerda free throws and a McGruder jumper to cut the deficit to one less than a minute later. The run continued with a McGruder fast-break layup, giving UNM back the lead at 62-61 with 6:20 to play and two LaTora free throws made it 64-61, ultimately a 9-0 run.
OSU tied the game at 64 on a three, however, McGruder promptly responded on the other end with a three of her own to give UNM back the lead with 5:26 left. The next basket wasn’t made until the 3:52 mark, cutting the lead down to one, and OSU took the lead at 68-67 with 2:16 remaining. De La Cerda put the Lobos back in front on a pull-up jumper with under two minutes to play, but OSU took the lead right back on a three with 1:35 on the clock. Again, it was De La Cerda who stepped up for the Lobos, tying the game at 71 on a layup with 1:18 left, to which Oregon State had an and-one on the other end that put the Beavers back in front.
Anderson scored on a putback with 26 remaining that made it a one-point game at 74-73, but the Lobos were forced to foul to extend the game, with OSU making all four down the stretch for the 78-73 final.
McGruder finished with seven points in the final quarter with De La Cerda finishing with six points, with McGruder scoring 12 points in the final 20 minutes and De La Cerda 11 in the final 20 minutes. LaTascya led all Lobos with 20 points in the game, her seventh game of 20 or more points and the 27th time a Lobo has scored 20 or more points in a game this season. De La Cerda finished in double figures for the 28th time this season and for McGruder, it was the 25th game in double figures.
The Lobos conclude the season 26-10, tied for the most single-season wins in program history, and in doing so, not only re-wrote the record books but the standard for this program.