Lobo women rally past Fresno State, stay perfect in league play

·3 min read

Jan. 23—Antonia Anderson was not satisfied with the way her University of New Mexico women's basketball team played in Saturday's first half.

She did something about it.

Anderson posted a double-double (22 points, 11 rebounds) and sparked a second-half comeback that lifted the Lobos to an 80-74 victory over Fresno State at the Pit. The super senior scored 15 points in the second half and made several key plays as UNM (16-4, 7-0 Mountain West) extended its winning streak to eight games and improved to 10-0 at home this season.

New Mexico trailed 47-38 at halftime and by as many as 11 points early in the third quarter, but turned things around behind Anderson, Paula Reus (19 points) and LaTora Duff (17 points).

"Fresno State whipped us in the first half," Lobos coach Mike Bradbury said, "whipped us in every facet. Everyone needed to be better in the second half, and I think that's what happened. We have five seniors who are used to winning, and I think they challenged each other."

Anderson, who had a memorable day in several respects, agreed.

"The first half it was like we were just going through the motions," she said. "In the second half we defended better, rebounded better and got into the way we play."

After the game, Anderson received a glass-encased basketball and an honorary plaque as many fans from an announced crowd of 4,751 applauded. The ball commemorated Anderson's joining UNM's 1,000-point scoring club (officially accomplished on the team's last road trip). The plaque signified Anderson's program-record 135th game played, breaking the previous mark of 134 set by Angela Hartill (2005-09).

"Amazing," Anderson said of the day as a whole. "The milestones mean a lot, having my name carved here somewhere. It always feels good to win, too, and Fresno State's a tough team to beat."

The Bulldogs (7-10, 3-3) have endured a roller-coaster season after being picked to win the Mountain West's regular-season title. Nonetheless, they brought plenty of fight to the Pit.

Twins Haley and Hanna Cavinder combined for 36 points, Wytalla Motta chipped in 21 points and 11 rebounds, and FSU used a dominant second quarter to effectively quiet the home crowd. Haley Cavinder finished with her second consecutive triple-double (21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists), while Hanna collected 15 points and six assists.

UNM led 22-19 after one quarter, but the Bulldogs used a flurry of offensive rebounds, 3-pointers and slick back-cuts to outscore the Lobos 28-16 in the second. FSU held a 15-0 advantage in second-chance points at intermission.

Motta, a 6-foot senior forward, gave the Lobos fits with 15 first-half points.

"We couldn't guard her," Bradbury said. "The twins deserve every bit of talk they get, but Fresno State has other good players."

UNM changed the tempo by switching and trapping on ball screens in the second half, making it difficult for FSU to get the ball inside. The Lobos also turned to Anderson, who scored 11 points in the third quarter. Her steal and layup trimmed Fresno State's lead to 56-55 with 44 seconds left and got the crowd fully energized.

Reus then scored twice inside and LaTascya Duff drained two 3s during a 12-3 fourth-quarter run that put the Lobos ahead to stay. Reus' 19 points topped her season-high of 17 set last week at Colorado State.

LaTascya Duff finished with nine points, and Jaedyn De La Cerda had nine points and nine assists for UNM.

Box score: UNM 80, Fresno State 74

Monday

Women: San Jose State at UNM, 5:30 p.m., Lobo Radio Network, themw.com