The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team conducted a kids’ clinic prior to Saturday’s home game against Boise State.
In the second half, the Lobos had to watch one.
The visiting Broncos scorched the nets over the final two quarters and eventually turned a back-and-forth game into a blowout. Boise State shot 71% from the field after halftime, drained its last five 3-pointers and put together a 22-1 run in the fourth quarter of its 95-76 victory at Dreamstyle Arena.
The 19-point margin of defeat was UNM’s largest at home since an 81-60 loss – also to Boise State – in 2016, and the worst home loss in Mike Bradbury’s three-plus seasons as coach.
It was only the second double-digit defeat in Mountain West play this season for the Lobos (14-15, 5-11), who lost a 68-51 decision to UNLV at the Pit in January.
Saturday’s outing was entirely different. UNM trailed by double digits for the entire second half against UNLV but was down just 73-72 early in the fourth quarter against Boise State.
Things went south in a hurry. While the Broncos (20-9, 12-5) hit nine of their next 10 shots, including three 3s, the Lobos suddenly went ice cold. UNM made just one of its last 17 shots from the field as things slipped away in front of an announced 5,338 fans on hand for the annual Lobos Love Pink game.
“They shot the ball so well, especially late,” UNM coach Mike Bradbury said of the Broncos. “We tried man-to-man, tried zone, we couldn’t get stops and, at the end, we couldn’t make shots either.”
Broncos Riley Lupfer and A’Shanti Coleman scored 20 points apiece and were a combined 16-of-24 from the field. Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said Saturday’s second half was his team’s best of the season and conceded his team brought extra motivation to the Pit.
“Four of our starters are seniors,” Presnell said, “and they’ve won five conference championships (regular-season and MWC tournament), but they’d never won here. They were so fired up for this game, and they got us on a roll.”
Ahlise Hurst scored a game-best 23 points for UNM, which also got strong outings from Aisia Robertson (15 points, eight rebounds, seven assists) and Jordan Hosey (15 points, six rebounds).
But after three competitive quarters, the Lobos couldn’t stay with the sizzling Broncos. UNM tried attacking BSU’s posts in the fourth quarter only to have six shots blocked by posts Coleman and Mallory McGwire. The Lobos were also 0-of-7 from 3-point range in the fourth, including a Hurst attempt that circled the entire rim twice before falling off.
“In the first half we did a good job controlling the tempo, attacking the basket and crashing the boards,” Robertson said. “In the second half, we didn’t do anything as well and Boise State took the momentum. I feel like everyone seems to shoot the lights out against us, but they were just on fire.”
UNM actually outshot Boise State in the first half, hitting seven 3-pointers and taking a 46-43 lead to intermission. The momentum wouldn’t last even through halftime as Robertson became ill during the break and did not come down the Pit ramp until after the third quarter had started.
During that span, Lupfer hit a pair of 3s and the Broncos used a 10-4 spurt to take a 53-50 lead that would grow to 69-62 later in the quarter.
Robertson returned and UNM battled back, twice cutting the deficit to one point early in the fourth. That’s when Boise State’s offensive clinic began.
UNM wraps up its home schedule Monday against Air Force. It will be senior night for Robertson and Hosey. And it will pair the two teams tied for ninth in the 11-team league.
“That’s good news that it’s a quick turnaround,” Robertson said. “We get a chance to get this bad taste out of our mouths.”