WNIT loss ends New Mexico women's basketball season - Albuquerque Journal

WNIT loss ends New Mexico women’s basketball season

The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team dominated two quarters of Sunday night’s WNIT second-round game at Washington.

The fourth was not among them.

After rallying from an 11-point deficit and building a 10-point lead, the Lobos ran out of steam in the final 10 minutes of a 67-56 loss in Seattle. The Huskies used a 12-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to take the lead for good and bring New Mexico’s season to an end.

Elle Ladine came off the bench to score 11 of her 15 points in the final quarter for Washington (17-14), which suddenly couldn’t miss down the stretch. The Huskies went 10-for-12 from the field in the fourth quarter, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

“We got tired in the fourth quarter and that’s when (the Huskies) were good,” UNM coach Mike Bradbury said in a postgame phone interview. “We wanted them shooting 3s, that was the plan, and it worked until the fourth quarter.”

Viané Cumber scored a game-high 20 points and went 6-for-12 from 3-point range for UNM (21-13). But the remaining Lobos were a combined 4-for-16 from long range and could not take advantage of open looks against Washington’s packed-in defense.

“With the lineup we have now, 3-point shooting is not really what we’re built for,” Bradbury said, referring to the absence of twins LaTascya and LaTora Duff, who opted not to participate in the WNIT. LaTascya left as the program’s career leader in 3-point field goals.

Still, UNM’s makeshift lineup had the the Huskies (17-14) on their heels for much of Sunday’s oddly streaky game.

“We’re disappointed because we definitely feel we could’ve won that game,” Bradbury said.

It didn’t look that way early. UNM started ice cold and trailed 20-9 after one quarter, going 3-for-16 from the field and 0-for-6 from 3-point range.

The tables turned in the second quarter after Amaya Brown hit a pair of early threes. Cumber later hit three straight, Paula Reus added another and the Lobos suddenly led 31-29 at halftime.

The run continued in the third quarter, when Nia Johnson scored five straight points and Brown hit a fastbreak layup to give the Lobos their largest lead at 47-37 with 1:53 left.

The Huskies were 2-for-17 from the field in the third quarter.

But the tide started turning back Washington’s way, thanks to offensive rebounds and numerous foul calls.

The much-taller Huskies finished with a 41-26 rebounding advantage and went 12-of-14 from the foul line. UNM was just 4-for-8.

Washington pulled even at 48 early in the fourth quarter.

A Cumber 3-pointer briefly put UNM back in front, but Ladine then scored nine points during the Huskies’ decisive 12-0 run.

“She was a difference-maker,” Bradbury said. “We tried to use our timeouts and some quick subs to give our starters a break, but they were gassed. It’s tough to see your season end like that, but our players competed and gave it all they had. I’m proud of them.”

Brown finished with 11 points and six rebounds for the Lobos.

Lauren Schwartz scored 15 points for the Huskies.

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