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Five Lobos Score in Double Figures in Win over WNMU

by Allison Weiss

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— With eight players available for Tuesday night’s contest against Western New Mexico, the Lobo women’s basketball team collectively found a way for a 93-57 victory.

All eight players scored with five players finishing in double figures, led by a career-high 22 points and six three-pointers by Viané Cumber.

Nia Johnson added a season-high 18 points off of the bench with a season-high four steals. Shaiquel McGruder, Amaya Brown and Jaelyn Bates nearly recorded a double-double with McGruder finishing with 14 points and seven rebounds, Brown with 10 points and eight rebounds and Bates scoring 11 points with a season-high eight assists.

As a team, the Lobos recorded 19 steals and nine blocks, with McGruder accounting for four steals and five blocks, Cumber with four steals, Johnson with three steals and Hulda Joaquim with three steals and two blocks. Joaquim also added nine points and six rebounds for her best outing this season.

Of note, the Lobos have tallied double-digit steals in all five games this season, with 19 a season high, and have finished with six or more blocks in the last three games with nine the season high.

Tuesday’s win was also the 300th win of head coach Mike Bradbury’s career, with 122 coming at UNM.

The Mustangs scored on their first two possessions to take a 6-0 lead, but Cumber and Bates led an 8-0 run with two three-pointers by Cumber and a Bates jump shot. Back-to-back Brown baskets extended UNM’s lead to four at 12-8, with the lead continuing to grow throughout the first quarter behind an 11-0 run over the final 4:45 for a 23-11 lead.

Cumber opened the game with eight points and a perfect 2-2 from behind the arc and 2-2 from the free-throw line, while recording three steals. Brown added six points with a 2-2 effort from the floor and 2-2 from the free-throw line, as the Lobos shot 53.3 percent from the floor.

WNMU cut the lead down to single digits at 33-25 with 3:23 remaining in the second quarter, but a Lobo 9-0 run in the span of two minutes stretched the lead to 17 (42-25), with UNM taking a 42-28 lead into the break.

Johnson scored seven points in the second quarter with Cumber reaching double figures in the second to give her 11 points at the half. McGruder had four blocks in the first 20 minutes with three steals, three assists and eight points.

UNM’s lead never dipped below 12 in the third quarter, growing as high as 26 on a Kath van Bennekom layup with 1:54 left in the quarter as part of a 7-0 run that included a Cumber three-pointer, a Cumber steal that led to a Bates fast-break layup and van Bennekom’s layup off of a Joaquim block. The Lobos led 68-47 through the third quarter with Cumber scoring eight points, Johnson with six points and three steals with four points off of two steals.

A 7-0 run almost midway through the fourth quarter that included a McGruder steal and layup followed by a Johnson three-pointer and a steal and a fast-break layup by Bates on the next possession pushed the Lobo lead past the 30-point margin at 32 (83-51), with the lead never falling below that point for the remainder of the game. A final 6-0 run on a Joaquim layup, a Paula Reus turnaround jumper and a Joaquim steal and fast-break layup created the largest margin of the game at 38 (93-55) before the Mustangs closed the scoring with a final basket.

The Lobos went 3-4 from three-point range in the fourth quarter with Cumber, Joaquim and Johnson all making their lone attempt, with Joaquim finishing with seven points in the quarter and Johnson with five more points. As a team, UNM outscored WNMU 25-10 in the quarter, shooting 57.9 percent from the floor.

New Mexico scored 20-plus points in three of the four quarters (scored 19 in the second) and shot 48.6 percent from the floor (36-74) in the game with nine three-pointers.

UNM moves to 2-3 on the season and now head on the road for its next two games. Up first, the Lobos will face Texas A&M-Commerce on Saturday and Nicholls on Tuesday.