The Lobos played another quality P-5 school Wednesday evening and gave the 5000+ fans a good, fast paced show. As with many of the season’s games it was close throughout, and was not settled until the last 10 seconds left of the game.
It started apprehensively for the Lobos with Oklahoma hitting a pair of three-pointers in the first 37 seconds for a 6-0 lead, and then quickly stretched it out to a 15-4 in under four minutes lead behind aggressive drives and a rebounding advantage. Memories of last season’s trip to Oklahoma may not have stirred in the freshmen, but it did among the fans.
UNM stopped that initial blitzkrieg with two major weapons: some defensive stops by Nike (two blocks and several altered Oklahoma shots that missed), and 12 straight points by the Lobos’ two starting freshmen, Ahlise (10, including three 3s), and Jayla for a basket. What Oklahoma built in 3+ minutes, UNM demolished in 3- minutes as they took a 1 point lead, 16-15. That set the tone for the next twenty minutes.
Block Party with Nike McClure is back! #GoLobos pic.twitter.com/mDmVhbizv5
— Lobo Women's Basketball (@UNMLoboWBB) November 29, 2018
Oklahoma closed out the first period with an 8-3 run and scored the first 6 in the second quarter to open the lead back to ten, and did it with freshman Taylor Robertson hitting long distance shots (she was 7 for 13 on 3s, and 8 for 16 overall), and using a rebounding advantage to get off more shots. The Lobos avoided a worse deficit with an advantage in turnovers, and a major advantage in blocks. Nike continued to accumulate them (she had 9 for the game, the second most in UNM history, and the most in 40 years (Carol Moreland in the late ‘70s); as a team the Lobos had 14 blocks in the game). Then, in the latter part of the second quarter UNM came back. The defense made some stops, and Ahlise kept scoring. Aisia kept finding shooters in the right spots (16 assists for the night, probably enough to keep her as #1 in the country; all told, the Lobos had 24 assists on 32 made baskets.), and it was often Ahlise who ended the first half with 24 points and the Lobos with a 41-40 lead.
The dark cloud on the halftime were the fouls: Jaisa had 3, as did Aisia, and Nike had 2. When Jaisa was out the Lobo offense stalled without her presence underneath for the dump-off passes when the guards drove. When Nike was out, the defense was weaker because the intimidator was not there on the back line.
The third quarter followed a different script. The Lobos grabbed a couple quick offensive rebounds. The first led to Jayla getting fouled and hitting both FTs, the Nike converted an O-board into a lay-up +1. The Lobo lead was up to six. The Sooners closed back to within two at 48-46, but in the next five minutes UNM went on their longest run of the game, 14-0, eight of them by Ahlise. In that stretch Oklahoma committed 8 turnovers (UNM was +10 in TOs for the game), many caused by the Lobos. UNM was quicker than the Sooners at most positions. The quarter ended with the Lobos up 64-52, and Ahlise was up to 28 points. She had also drawn three charges, a point of emphasis for the Lobos going into the game.
The fourth quarter was not a continuation of the third. Oklahoma may be freshmen dominated (the third youngest team in the NCAA), but they are talented. Jaisa started the scoring with a basket (she finished with 12 points on very uncharacteristic 6 of 15 shooting, and 10 rebounds, 4 offensive) but then the Lobos went cold for a while. They missed, and Oklahoma warmed up. They hit four straight shots, including two triples, and the lead was down to six. Jaisa was out with her 4th foul and the Sooners were dominating the rebound numbers. Lobos kept missing, and Oklahoma converted a couple of the rebounds into baskets—lead down to two, 68-66.
Now the Lobos pounded the glass, getting four offensive rebounds in one sequence until Oklahoma eventually fouled—then three more immediately afterwards, and OK fouled again. Mike Bradbury was convinced Jaisa and AT were fouled much earlier in the scrums, and let the official know, who responded with a quick technical against UNM.
Oklahoma hit one FT, AT hit two, and UNM was up by three points with 3:51 to play. A Jaisa rebound and outlet to Jaedyn made it a 5 point game, and Oklahoma started to feel the urgency and looking for threes. Taylor Robertson, their marksman, hit one to make it 74-72 with under two minutes, but the Lobos kept her from getting off another shot the rest of the game. Meanwhile Ahlise hit UNM’s next five points, and Jaisa added a lay-up before fouling out. Lobos up 81-76, and 41 seconds remaining. Oklahoma fouled intentionally from there on, and the Lobos made enough free throws to close it out, but it was not a done deal until Aisia hit her last two with 9 seconds remaining. Final score, 84-80 Lobos.
FINAL: @UNMLoboWBB 84, Oklahoma 80 pic.twitter.com/iMV2Xifcjk
— The Lair New Mexico (@thelairnm) November 29, 2018
39 points on 14/24 shooting for Ahlise
12 points, 10 rebounds for Jaisa’s double-double
Nike just missed her own D-D with 10 boards and 9 blocks.
Good minutes for both AT and Jaedyn off the bench.
Although Quincy only played 4+ minutes, she played well when in there, and her quickness clearly bothered Taylor Robertson when she was on her.