Win No. 300 turned out to be memorable after all.
With only eight players in uniform, the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team made the most of an unusual Tuesday evening at the Pit, snapping a frustrating two-game losing streak with a 93-57 victory over Western New Mexico.
It was UNM coach Mike Bradbury’s 300th career win and it didn’t come as expected.
With two starters (LaTora and LaTascya Duff) and two reserves (Aniyah Augmon and Mackenzie Curtis) unavailable, the Lobos (2-3) had to patch together some odd lineups but ultimately got things rolling against the overmatched Mustangs (1-3).
The Duff twins missed Tuesday’s game because of a death in their family, while Augmon and Curtis were out due to illness.
“It was obviously a little different for us with the players we had available,” Bradbury said. “Stuff like this happens over the course of a season and you have to manage it, but on short notice I thought our players did a good job.”
Viané Cumber had a big night for the Lobos with a career-high 22 points on 6-of-8 3-point shooting. Nia Johnson (18 points) and Jaelyn Bates (11 points, eight assists) filled in nicely in extended duty.
“(Cumber) and I really took this game seriously tonight,” Johnson said. “With players missing, we needed to step up and get back on the right track. It feels good getting an opportunity to show what I can do.”
Bradbury credited his assistant coaches and players over the years for his milestone win but said it was not at the forefront of his mind. Cumber thought differently.
“We definitely wanted to have something to celebrate,” she said. “We did that with (Bradbury) in the locker room. Coming off two overtime games, we needed to have the right mentality tonight and kind of flip the page.”
Western New Mexico made the most of its quickness early and kept things competitive for most of the first half. Sydney Wright, who scored 20 points for the Mustangs, hit back-to-back 3s to start the game and gave WNMU a 6-0 lead.
But the Lobos soon shifted into gear, finishing the quarter on a 23-5 surge to take the lead for good. Cumber hit a pair of 3-pointers, Amaya Brown chipped in six points and the hosts seemed ready to coast.
WNMU battled back, however, getting as close as 33-25 after a Diamond Moore basket with 4 minutes left in the half. A 3-pointer and a steal and layup by Bates in her first collegiate start, built UNM’s lead to 42-28 at halftime.
The second half was all UNM. Cumber and Johnson sparked a third-quarter surge that extended the Lobos’ lead to 66-40 and ended any suspense about the outcome.
All eight Lobos in uniform scored, five of them in double figures, and the hosts went into the Thanksgiving holiday on a positive note.
Shaiquel McGruder finished with 14 points and five blocks for UNM, while Brown added 10 points and Hulda Joaquim chipped in nine points and six rebounds.
Women: UNM at Texas A&M Commerce, 1 p.m., 610 AM/95.9 FM