Tip your collective cap and move on.
That’s the only reasonable approach the New Mexico Lobos could take after Thursday night’s 93-75 women’s basketball loss to Mountain West-leading UNLV at the Pit.
The Lobos had little to gain by dwelling on a game in which they played reasonably well offensively but were unable to slow down the red-hot Rebels, who won their 12th consecutive game. Besides, UNM had just one day to prepare for second-place San Diego State, which visits the Pit for a 2 p.m. tip on Saturday.
“Gotta get to work and bounce back,” Lobos senior Amaya Brown said after Thursday’s defeat. “San Diego State’s a good team. Time to turn the page and focus on the next one.”
UNM coach Mike Bradbury agreed, though he did see some value in looking back at a previous game. That one occurred Jan. 19 in San Diego, where UNM led the Aztecs for more than 35 minutes only to leave Viejas Arena with a 65-61 loss. New Mexico failed to score in the game’s final 4:02, and a controversial out-of-bounds call that wiped away a late LaTascya Duff 3-pointer left a sour taste in the Lobos’ mouths.
“I thought we played pretty well out there,” Bradbury said. “We just didn’t finish the game the right way. Hopefully we can keep that same kind of energy and focus going for 40 minutes this time.”
Close, hard-fought games have been all too common between the Lobos (13-10, 5-5) and Aztecs (18-6, 8-3) in recent years. Over the past six seasons, SDSU has a 6-5 edge in the series. Nine games have been decided by single digits, five of them by four points or fewer.
“San Diego State’s always good defensively and especially this year,” Bradbury said. “They’re big and can score inside, which is a problem for us, but our games with them are almost always battles. It usually comes down to who can make a few plays at the end.”
Neither team made many in the final minutes of this season’s previous matchup. SDSU took a 63-61 lead on Asia Avinger’s layup with 2:57 left, and neither team scored again until Avinger hit two free throws with three seconds remianing.
Both teams have gone 3-1 since then, but the Aztecs will be rested coming into Saturday’s rematch. SDSU had an open date Thursday and has not played since a 62-57 loss at Boise State on Monday night.
Still, Bradbury was not concerned about fatigue, and Brown suggested the Lobos would be glad to have a quick turnaround and put Thursday’s game behind them.
“Practice was good (Friday) and we’ll be ready to go,” Bradbury said.
FIRE WHEN READY: UNM leads the Mountain West in 3-pointers made (204) and attempted (610) with two more makes than Colorado State. In conference play LaTascya Duff and Viané Cumber rank first and second in 3s per game and 3-point percentage. Duff averages 2.8 3s per game and is hitting 47.4% (28 for 59). Cumber averages 2.1 makes per game and is hitting 40.4% (21 for 52).
HER AGAIN? Fifth-year senior Sophia Ramos has been something of a Lobo killer during her SDSU career. She scored a career-high 32 points against UNM in 2020 and hit a pair of crucial late shots to help knock the Lobos out in a MWC tournament in 2019. Ramos has excelled against other opponents as well. She’s the only current Division I player with more than 1,800 points, 600 rebounds and 450 assists in her career.
CHEAP SEATS: Saturday’s game is the annual Pack the Pit promotion with $5 tickets available.