ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team scored 16 seconds into the contest while opening the game on a 7-0 run and never looked back as the Lobos led wire-to-wire thanks to five players scoring double figures to defeat Fresno State 88-75 Saturday afternoon at Dreamstyle Arena – The Pit.
The victory breaks UNM’s two-game losing skid and increases the Lobos’ (16-3 overall, 4-2 Mountain West) home win streak to 13 games – tied for the sixth longest streak in program history.
The Lobos were able to do so thanks to going 9-for-23 from 3-point range (39.1 percent) a game after going 3-for-16 against Wyoming in a loss in Laramie on Wednesday. It also didn’t hurt that the Lobos went 17-for-18 from the free throw line as well on Saturday.
“I thought, on offense, the right person took the shot,” UNM coach Mike Bradbury said. “We had a lot of balance and I thought we kept the ball moving well. The open person would shoot and we didn’t really force many shots today so I think that led to some really good offense compared to the last few games.”
A Jaisa Nunn basket on the interior on a nice assist from Tesha Buck and an Alex Lapeyrolerie 3-pointer within the first 50 seconds of the game got the Lobos going as it started the contest on a 7-0 run. The Lobos’ lead grew to double figures when Buck drained a 3-pointer at the 5:16 mark in the first quarter to make it 17-6 as UNM took a 24-12 lead into the second.
Fresno State (8-9, 3-3) cut the UNM lead down to three points with 2:34 left in the second before the Lobos expanded it back to double digits at the half – capped by a Lapeyrolerie 3-pointer with a second left – to make it 46-35.
The Bulldogs sliced the UNM lead to four points at 58-54 with 3:27 left in the third quarter on a Genna Ogier jumper, but again the Lobos pushed the lead back to near double figures heading into the fourth at 67-58.
The Lobos’ advantage grew to as large as 19 points in the final quarter after a basket by Nunn with 1:57 left in the game made it 86-67 as UNM held on for the 13-point win.
“It was a very physical game and the refs were pretty even about it,” Nunn said. “It was a very tough battle, especially with guarding the ball. It’s the best kind of game you can play. If the game isn’t physical, then what type of game is it? It’s the best type of basketball game and I love it.”
Cherise Beynon and Nunn each finished with a double-double as Beynon had 20 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds while Nunn finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and two steals. Buck had 18 points, five assists and five rebounds, Lapeyrolerie had 14 points and five rebounds while N’Dea Flye had 12 points, six rebounds and a pair of assists.
“I think every basketball team is heavy on protecting the house and just playing well at home, especially with the amount of fans that we have here at home so it’s easy to come here and feed off of their energy,” Buck said. “It definitely makes it easier to play well.”
Candice White, the conference’s top scorer, finished with 22 points and seven rebounds to lead Fresno State.
The Lobos host UNLV (8-7, 3-1) in another key Mountain West matchup 7 p.m. Wednesday at Dreamstyle Arena.