UNM women rally past Missouri, stay unbeaten

CANCUN, Mexico — The script went out the window early, but the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team found a winning formula late.

Jayla Everette and Aisia Robertson sparked a game-finishing 13-3 run and the Lobos came from behind to steal a 71-68 victory over Missouri on Thursday afternoon in the Cancun Challenge at the Hard Rock Hotel Maya Riviera. It was an unlikely rally to say the least.

UNM (6-0) trailed 65-58 with 7:32 left and two of its three available posts fouled out in the second half. That meant crucial minutes for Robertson, who was playing in her first game since suffering a torn ACL last March.

Robertson hit a key 3-pointer to give the Lobos a 69-65 lead in the closing minutes, Everett scored 14 of her team-high 17 points in the second half, and New Mexico earned just its fourth win all-time over an SEC opponent.

“That was just a gut-check, find-a-way win,” Lobo coach Mike Bradbury said in a postgame phone interview. “A.R. (Robertson) and Jayla just willed us to keep going and people really stepped up. I’m proud of my team right now, I’ll tell you.”

Everett paced four Lobos in double figures, joined by Antonia Anderson and Ahlise Hurst with 15 points apiece and Najala Howell with 11. Shaiquel McGruder added five points, 10 rebounds and three steals in 33 productive minutes.

Both Anderson and Bride Kennedy-Hopoate fouled out for New Mexico, forcing Bradbury to employ an odd, undersized lineup for much of the second half. Guards Howell and Hurst took shifts at power forward and largely held their own against the Tigers (2-5).

“We were in just horrendous foul trouble,” Bradbury said, “but we managed to play through it. I don’t think we executed or shot the ball very well, but our fight was outstanding.”

Missouri, which got 29 points from freshman Hayley Frank, won the rebound battle 39-33 and hit 16 of 19 from the foul line. (UNM was 9 of 14).

But the Lobos forced 19 turnovers and scored 24 points off the takeaways. Missouri forced just seven UNM turnovers, leading to seven points.

“We had some breakdowns,” Bradbury said, “but I really liked our aggressiveness on defense. Our kids played hard.”

Everett, who started 1-for-9 from the field, heated up when it mattered. She scored six straight points to ignite UNM’s late rally, including a jumper that trimmed Missouri’s lead to 65-64. Hurst added a jumper with 3:26 left to give the Lobos their first lead of the second half.

Robertson, who Bradbury said last week was unlikely to play in the tournament, then drilled a 3-pointer that helped UNM hold on for the win. The senior finished with five points, four assists and a steal in 16 minutes.

“She just started looking really good when we got down here,” Bradbury said of Robertson. “It was nice having her out there at crunch time, especially when we had such a mismatched lineup. A.R. is a difference-maker.”

The Lobos will face No. 23 West Virginia on Friday to conclude their tournament action. Senior Jordan Hosey, who did not play for UNM on Thursday, will not be in uniform against the Mountaineers.

“Jordan will not be in uniform and will not play down here,” Bradbury said. “That’s all I can say for now.”

LOBOS 71, TIGERS 68

FG FT Reb

Missouri Min M-A M-A O-T A F Pts

Chavis 28 3-6 2-3 0-3 4 2 11

Schuchts 34 1-4 2-2 1-8 4 3 5

Green 16 2-5 1-1 1-2 2 3 5

Roundtree 34 2-4 0-0 2-6 1 2 4

Smith 10 2-4 0-0 0-3 0 0 4

Frank 36 9-14 7-7 1-6 0 3 29

Blackwell 22 3-10 2-4 3-5 1 4 8

Troup 17 0-0 2-2 0-3 1 2 2

Brown 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 200 22-47 16-19 9-39 13 19 68

Percentages: FG .468, FT .842.

3-Point Goals: 8-16, .500 (Chavis 3-4, Schuchts 1-3, Smith 0-1, Frank 4-5, Blackwell 0-3).

Team Rebounds: 3.

Blocked Shots: 2 (Schuchts, Frank).

Turnovers: 19 (Chavis 2, Schuchts 2, Green, Roundtree 2, Smith 2, Frank 4, Blackwell 3, Troup).

Steals: 3 (Chavis 2, Frank).

Technical Fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

UNM Min M-A M-A O-T A F Pts

Everett 34 6-19 3-4 3-6 5 1 17

Hurst 37 6-12 0-0 0-1 1 3 15

Anderson 14 5-8 2-2 1-2 0 5 15

Howell 28 4-11 3-5 1-4 1 4 11

McGruder 33 2-5 1-2 5-10 1 3 5

Robertson 16 2-6 0-1 0-0 4 1 5

Kennedy 18 1-5 0-0 0-2 0 5 3

-Hopoate

De La Cerda 17 0-4 0-0 1-1 0 1 0

Carter 3 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0

Totals 200 26-70 9-14 16-33 12 24 71

Percentages: FG .371, FT .643.

3-Point Goals: 10-33, .303 (Everett 2-10, Hurst 3-7, Anderson 3-4, Howell 0-4, Robertson 1-3, Kennedy-Hopoate 1-4, De La Cerda 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 6.

Blocked Shots: 3 (Everett, McGruder, Kennedy-Hopoate).

Turnovers: 7 (Everett, Howell, Robertson 2, Kennedy-Hopoate 2, Team 1).

Steals: 9 (Hurst, Anderson 2, Howell, McGruder 3, Robertson, De La Cerda).

Technical Fouls: None.

Missouri 19 17 25 7—68

New Mexico 18 13 24 13—71

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