Albuquerque, New Mexico (KVA) -- Lucía Yenes did her best to keep the Aggies afloat, dropping in a season-high 20 points along with six rebounds, two assists and two steals but NMSU ended up falling 67-52 to rivals UNM.
With that result the Lobos improved to 6-2 on the season, while NM State dropped to 4-3.
NM State scored 19 first half points which is the fewest in any half this season, and put the team in too deep of a hole to climb out of. UNM dominated down low, hauling in 47 rebounds and 42 points in the paint.
Both teams got out to a slow start offensively, with the Aggies ahead 4-3 at the first media timeout. The two teams combined for 23 missed field goals and 10 turnovers in the opening 10 minutes. UNM hit their third and final field goal of the quarter to take a 7-6 lead with two minutes and five seconds remaining. NM State would tie it up one more time and never take another lead for the rest of the game. The final 2:05 of the quarter was scoreless for both teams, as the Aggies couldn't get a shot up before the first buzzer.
Lucía Yenes had her most points in a game this season by the second quarter media timeout, owning eight of the Aggies' first 12 points. Another free throw and mid-range bucket would give Yenes her halftime total of 11, including nine in the second quarter. She nailed the team's first two three pointers and added four rebounds and an assist in a productive 15-minute first half. The Aggies finished the half 1-2 at the free throw line, while the Lobos earned a trip to the charity stripe nine times and converted on seven of them. UNM took a 27-19 lead into the break.
NM State had their best quarter of the game coming out of halftime; a trend for several games in a row now. UNM coughed up seven turnovers in the 10-minute period, while the Aggies gave up just one. The two sides each poured in 17 points on seven made field goals in the quarter. Yenes added another seven points, two rebounds and two steals, becoming the game's highest scorer for the second consecutive quarter. The two teams maintained the eight-point halftime margin and began the fourth quarter with a 44-36 score.
Despite hitting six of their 11 field goal attempts in the final frame, the Aggies would never cut it closer than eight the rest of the way. UNM poured in nine field goals of their own, the most by either side in any quarter. The Lobos were led by center Charlotte Kohl all night, as she wrapped up her second double-double of the season. Kohl would drop in seven points and collect eight rebounds in the second half. Eventually, UNM pulled away, taking a 17-point lead at one point. With 2:04 left in the game, NM State was staring down a 64-47 deficit; their largest this season. The final buzzer sounded with a 67-52 margin on the scoreboard, sending the Aggies home with their worst loss of the season.
Head Coach Jody Adams, on the loss: "I just think it became a battle in the paint and on the offensive boards. When you give up 15 (second-chance) points in there and they out-rebound the way they do, it just becomes a battle of the paint. We did not win that battle. I'll give their young women credit for the way they played and stuck with their game plan."
Head Coach Jody Adams, on the physicality of the game: "They (UNM) are big, and they're scrappy. I think each individual has their role and I thought they did it very well. When you allow the middle penetration, they get deep and they're throwing it up to 6'6" at the rim. When you don't box her out, then they have an easy putback. That's where we did not do what we were supposed to do. We knew that there would be misses at the rim, but 22 (Kohl) could not get those misses."
Numbers of Note
- The Lobos grabbed 47 rebounds in the game. That is the most NM State has allowed from an opponent this season, surpassing UTSA's 43.
- The Aggies were outscored 42-16 in the paint. That marks the most by any opponent this season, surpassing Arizona's 40. The 26 point margin is also the largest since the opening game against the Wildcats (40-20).
- NM State only shot seven free throws, while UNM had 16. Seven is tied for the lowest mark in free throw attempts in an Aggie game since Jan. 12, 2023 against Sam Houston, when they made five of seven. The last time NM State had fewer than seven free throw attempts was Feb. 1, 2020 at Grand Canyon.
- Lucía Yenes became the second bench player to score 20 or more points in a game this season, joining Jaila Harding, who had 22 in a win over Hampton on Nov. 24.
- With the last win coming in Dec. 2015, the Aggies have now lost six straight road games against the Lobos.
- For the first time this season, the opening tip did not determine the winner of the game. NM State lost the tip-off against both Arizona and UTSA, but had won the last four opening tips in as many wins. Ene Adams won the tip for a fifth straight time in Saturday's loss.
The Aggies will return home to the Pan American Center for the first time in 17 days. They will begin a 12-day, three-game homestand by taking on UC Irvine. NM State is set to host the Anteaters on Tuesday, Dec. 5. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 PM MT, and the game will be streamed live on ESPN+.
Head Coach Jody Adams, on the upcoming homestand: "It'll be really nice. We've got some things we need to work on. Some of it will still take some time, but when it comes to an adjustment like that, it's a mentality. That's expected of us. I expect us to have a dog mentality. When we talk about Kobe (Bryant), it's a 'Mamba Mentality'. You embrace the moment and you embrace the job that you get to do. It's not that you have to do it, but that you get to do it. It also brings joy in doing it hard. We've got to wrap our heads around that."
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