Basketball: On national TV, UNLV too much for UNM women - Albuquerque Journal

Basketball: On national TV, UNLV too much for UNM women

With one notable exception, the UNM women’s basketball team did not bring its ‘A’ game to Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.

It was a C-minus effort at best.

Host UNLV, meanwhile, put up an A-plus performance for most of the night, shooting the lights out and running the Lobos out of Cox Pavilion in third quarter of a 79-63 romp.

The Mountain West-leading Lady Rebels (16-2, 6-0) did what they do best, pounding the ball inside to star post Desi-Rae Young early and often, then taking advantage of open looks when Young forced the defense to help out inside.

Young poured in 22 points and had 16 rebounds, doing most of her damage in the first half. Alyssa Durazo-Frescas took over from there, hitting 6-of-10 from 3-point range and scoring 22 points.

UNM’s starters were largely ineffective in the nationally televised game, combining for 25 points (11 of them by Paula Reus). Leading scorer Shaiquel McGruder failed to score or grab a rebound in 29 minutes of action.

“I don’t think there’s any question that UNLV’s starters were far better than ours,” Lobos coach Mike Bradbury said in a postgame phone interview. “Shai feels bad, but it wasn’t just her. Our preparation for the Nevada game (an 88-58 win) on Wednesday was off the charts, and our preparation for this game was just the opposite.”

By far the biggest bright spot for UNM was the play of sophomore Aniyah Augmon, who posted a double-double with 18 points (3-for-3 from 3-point range) and 10 rebounds. The point total and made 3s were career highs, while the 10 rebounds tied her previous high.

“Aniyah prepared hard, followed the game plan and was so aggressive,” Bradbury said. “She was great.”

UNM’s bench performed well overall, outscoring UNLV’s 38-14, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the disparity among the starters. UNLV, the MWC’s top rebounding team, racked up a 40-25 advantage on the boards, but Bradbury was more disappointed with his team’s 17 turnovers, which led to 26 Rebels points.

“We’d been much better moving the ball and handling pressure without turning the ball over in recent weeks,” he said. “Not tonight. We turned it over too much, especially when the game was close and it made a difference.”

UNLV led 20-18 after one quarter but opened the second with an 11-3 surge to take a 31-21 lead. The margin remained 10 at halftime (40-30), with Young leading the Rebels’ charge (16 points, 10 rebounds at intermission).

Any thoughts of a UNM comeback fizzled quickly in the third quarter. The Lobos’ first five possessions resulted in three turnovers, a missed McGruder jumper and a missed layup by Amaya Brown.

The Rebels countered with three straight 3-pointers on an 11-0 run to build a 51-30 lead and were never seriously threatened thereafter. The quarter ended with UNLV’s Essence Booker launching a long 3-pointer that bounded straight up off the back rim, roughly 8 feet above the basket, and dropped in at the buzzer to make the score 62-39.

Viané Cumber finished with 12 points off the bench for UNM. Booker scored 12 for the Rebels.

Box score: UNLV 79, UNM 63

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