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Lobos Take Down Lumberjacks in WNIT First Round

by Allison Weiss

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Led by Shaiquel McGruder’s 18 points and 10 rebounds and Amaya Brown’s 15 points and eight rebounds, the Lobos defeated Northern Arizona 72-64 on Thursday night in the first round of the WNIT. It was the seventh double-double of the season for McGruder and fifth consecutive game in double figures, and the third time in four games in double figures for Brown.

Beyond the duo, UNM had contributions from all eight players with Aniyah Augmon adding eight points and Paula Reus scoring nine points after getting the start, and Nia Johnson (eight points) and Kath van Bennekom (six points) contributing off the bench.

NAU scored the first four points of the contest with McGruder breaking the seal for the Lobos with a layup. A 7-0 run fueled by layups by Brown and Reus and a Viané Cumber three-pointer pushed the Lobos in front 9-6, and after a Lumberjack layup, the scoring continued with another run of 6-0 to give the Lobos an 15-8 advantage. NAU cut the lead to two at 15-13, however a 5-0 personal run by Johnson restored the seven-point margin with 45 seconds remaining for the final points of the quarter.

A Johnson fast-break layup off of an Augmon steal opened the scoring for UNM in the second to make it 22-14 to which Northern Arizona responded with a run to cut the lead to two at 26-24 midway through the quarter. The Lobos had an answer of their own with a layup by Jaelyn Bates and a three from McGruder for the 31-24 lead, with the Lobos taking a 32-29 lead into the break.

McGruder led all scorers with nine points in the first 20 minutes on a perfect 4-4 shooting followed by seven for Johnson.

NAU cut the lead to one 22 seconds into the third quarter, but a Brown jumper and steal that led to an Augmon layup stretched the lead to five. After a Brown layup extended the gap to seven points (44-37), a 4-0 NAU run cut the lead to three, and after an exchange of three-pointers, took a 48-47 lead. A Johnson free-throw and an and-one for McGruder restored UNM’s lead, with the Lobos scoring the final four points on layups by van Bennekom and McGruder for the 55-50 lead at the end of the third.

McGruder scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds with Brown scoring six points on 3-3 shooting in the quarter.

A 6-0 run on layups by Augmon, Brown and van Bennekom extended UNM’s lead to nine at 61-52 three minutes into the fourth quarter, with the margin reaching its largest point of the game at 15 (70-55) following a 9-0 run with 2:50 remaining in the game.  NAU scored the final six points of the game for the final score.

With the win, the Lobos advance to the second round against Washington after the Huskies defeated San Francisco 61-46.