Playing their last home game for more than a month, the Lobos took care of Rio Grande rival New Mexico State with a 65-55 victory in front of an announced 6,392 fans at the Pit.
It wasn’t always easy or pretty, but UNM did what was necessary to square its record at 4-4 and extend its recent dominance over the Aggies (3-6). The Lobos have won 12 straight against New Mexico State and 34 of the last 35 meetings.
Antiesha Brown was the biggest difference for the home team, scoring 21 points and coming up with big baskets every time the Aggies mounted a threat.
“Pretty solid,” Brown said. “We can get a lot better on defense, but our offense was pretty good. It’s nice to steer the boat in the right direction.”
The Lobos got 10 points apiece from Khadijah Shumpert and Sara Halasz and had nine players score. UNM shot reasonably well from the floor (45 percent) and hit 3-of-6 from 3-point range but could have put the game away more easily with better free-throw shooting. The Lobos were 14-of-26.
Coach Yvonne Sanchez was not happy with the poor foul shooting, but liked her team’s work on the defensive end. NMSU came in averaging 75 points and nine 3-pointers per game but shot 33 percent from the field and went 4-of-19 from long range.
“I thought we sent (the Aggies) to the foul line too much,” Sanchez said, “but coaches are never happy because coaches are psycho. Overall, I’m pleased with our players.”
UNM never trailed and got good production from its revamped post rotation. Shumpert and freshman Kianna Keller started, with sophomore Alexa Chavez and freshman Josie Greenwood coming off the bench.
Keller finished with seven points and nine rebounds, Chavez had five points and five boards, and Greenwood chipped in four points and a board.
The Lobos led 34-27 at halftime and stretched it to 54-37 midway through the second. But the Aggies battled back, scoring 11 straight points to make it a 54-48 game. Abby Scott drained two 3-pointers during the run.
Brown and Shumpert then sparked a 6-0 Lobo run, and NMSU never got closer than nine points.
“They’re really young and I think we were able to rattle them a little bit,” Brown said.
Sasha Weber scored 11 points, and September Offutt had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Aggies.