Prior to game one of the 2021-22 season, UNM women’s basketball coach Mike Bradbury made a prediction.
“This team will shoot a ton of 3s,” he said.
Truer words have rarely been spoken. The Lobos fired up a program- and Mountain West-record 52 3-point attempts Saturday in Fort Collins, making 19 on their way to an 85-74 victory over host Colorado State.
Antonia Anderson took top billing with a record day individually, scoring a career-best 30 points and tying UNM’s career standard of 134 games played as the Lobos (15-3, 6-0) won their seventh straight game. New Mexico’s 6-0 conference start is the best in program history.
Freshman Paula Reus had a career-best 17 points and nine rebounds, and Shaiquel McGruder posted a double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds) for the visitors.
The win produced another odd stat sheet as UNM attempted twice as many 3-pointers as it did 2-pointers. Anderson far eclipsed her previous highs for shots by going 8-for-20 from 3-point range and 11-for-26 overall.
The numbers were a product of CSU’s defense. The Rams consistently backed off UNM’s posts and effectively dared them to shoot from the perimeter.
“(The Rams) had two players standing in the lane on every possession,” Lobos coach Mike Bradbury said in a postgame phone interview. “There was no way to drive it inside or work the post. Shooting 3s was our best option.”
That’s exactly what the Lobos did. With the score tied at 62 after three quarters, UNM buried seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to pull away.
“I knew I was going to be open because that’s the way Colorado State defended us last year,” Anderson said. “But I’ve never taken that many 3s. (Bradbury) had to convince me to keep taking them because I was getting tired of shooting.”
The Lobos led for more than 35 minutes and appeared set to put away the Rams (11-4, 2-3) midway through the third quarter. An Anderson 3 followed by a McGruder fast-break layup gave UNM its largest lead at 56-39.
But CSU responded, finishing the quarter on a 23-6 tear to tie the score. Kendyll Kinzer hit two of her four 3-pointers during the surge, and the Rams would ultimately make nine 3s in the game.
“I don’t know what happened for those four or five minutes,” Bradbury said. “We kind of lost our minds on defense and Colorado State hit every single shot.”
The Lobos regrouped in the fourth quarter. McGruder hit a 3-pointer to give UNM a 65-62 lead, Reus and Anderson hit two apiece and New Mexico quickly regained control.
UNM’s 52 3-point attempts shattered the previous team record of 42 set Jan. 6 at Utah State. Colorado State held the previous MWC records for 3s attempted in a game (44 against Tennessee in 2019) and in a conference game (43 against UNM in 2017).
Point guard McKenna Hofschild racked up 19 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for CSU on Saturday.
Saturday, Jan. 22
Women: Fresno State at UNM, 2 p.m., 610 AM/95.9 FM, themw.com (streaming)