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UNM falls in NIT Sweet 16

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By The Staff

In a game that had some eerie similarities to UNM’s last loss, a poor third quarter allowed TCU to race back from down seven at the break to take a lead they would hold the rest of the way, as the Horned Frogs defeated New Mexico 81-72, ending UNM’s season at 25-11, one win short of a school record.

The Lobos were looking for a third quarterfinal appearance in the WNIT all-time in six trips, but a 3-for-16 third quarter just couldn’t be overcome.

The loss was similar to UNM’s 69-66 Mountain West Tournament quarterfinal loss to Wyoming in which the Lobos shot 1-for-14 in the third quarter, losing a 15-point lead.

It started out well, the UNM shooting 50 percent in the first half, opening at one point a 34-20 lead, its biggest of the game.  A strong opening quarter saw Tesha Buck score eight and Cherise Beynon seven, with Beynon having to deal with two early fouls.

Up 24-17, UNM went on a 10-3 run which ended on a Laneah Bryan three in the corner.

However, after a TCU basket and a UNM miss Beynon was whistled for a very late foul, sending her to the bench, and

TCU was able to whittle the lead down to seven at the break as UNM scored just one field goal the rest of the second quarter.

Unfortunately, that was a sign of things to come in the third.  TCU tied the game with a 9-2 run to open the second half, but Buck ended that with a three, UNM’s first field goal of the half, coming at the 6:28 mark. 

UNM would make just two more field goals in the quarter. 

After TCU took a three-point lead, Jaisa Nunn’s and-one basket and free throw tied it for the final time at 50-50 with 3:45 to go. 

However, TCU scored on five of their next six possessions, four of those layups, part of 50 points in the paint for the Frogs.

UNM trailed by six at the quarter and it ballooned to nine early, but UNM was game and fought back.

But each time UNM got within striking distance, TCU had an answer.  Cherise Beynon’s layup cut it to 65-62, but TCU immediately went to the line and answered it.

Down seven, Beynon hit a basket and Madi Washington drained a corner three, and it was suddenly 69-67 with 3:58 to go, but it was answered by Jayde Woods.

Buck answered with a basket with 3:09 to go but Adeola Akomolafe hit a jumper to make it four.

Finally, after Jaisa Nunn made one of two free throws to make it 73-70, UNM ran out of comeback attempts. 

Woods hit a three-point play, and back-to-back turnovers led to baskets and it was 80-70 with 55.6 left. 

Free throws each way accounted for the final score.

With 23.6 left, Mike Bradbury was able to substitute out his seniors, allowing them a chance to get a standing ovation from the 3,938 in attendance, who were as loud as they have been all season.

“It’s a privilege to be able to play in front of these fans,” said Bradbury. “To be one of just a handful of non-power conference teams left and to be playing home games in the WNIT … I’ve said it before, but we have the best fans in the world. We went 19-3 at home this year, with a one-point loss, a two-point loss and then tonight.  That’s because of them.”

The Lobos lose four seniors off the 2017-18 team, as Cherise Beynon, Tesha Buck, Laneah Bryan and Alex Lapeyrolerie all finished their careers with Thursday’s loss.