Lobos women break records in rout of San Jose State
ALBUQUERQUE — It took just under two hours to play Wednesday night’s Mountain West Conference women’s basketball game in The Pit between New Mexico and visiting San Jose State.
In reality, it only took about eight minutes of game time to get a feel for how things were truly going to go.
Right around the time most Lobos fans were polishing off that first helping of nachos, Jaedyn De La Cerda was giving them reason to plot the quickest way to the parking lot.
The sophomore shooting guard from Roswell blistered the nets for 12 of UNM’s 14 points over a span of just two and a half minutes, setting the tone for a career night in more ways than one.
The Lobos’ point total in their 110-72 rout of the Spartans was a school record. So, too, were the 31 points off the bench by De La Cerda.
But it doesn’t stop there. De La Cerda shattered her previous high-water mark (21) for scoring while also setting career standards in shots taken (19), made (12), 3-pointers made (seven), and tying her career high in rebounds with seven.
She may have also broken a record for ear-to-ear grins, which she did after every made bucket, plus a few when someone else did something positive. When asked about it after the game all she did was giggle, smile and not say a word for nine seconds before ending it with a little shoulder shrug.
Head coach Mike Bradbury said his coaching staff was aware of De La Cerda’s growing point total and after she headed to the bench with 29 points toward the middle of the fourth quarter and the game well in hand, he was told she needed two more points to break the Lobo mark for a non-starter.
“They were like, ‘You gotta score one more bucket,’ and I was, ‘Do I shoot it, do I drive it, what do I got to score?’ ” she said. “Coach was like, just score. So it was, like, OK.”
“She’s put the work in, she’s put the time in and when you do that, generally at some point it’ll pay off,” Bradbury said. “When you get your opportunity, she was ready for it. It was well deserved.”
The Lobos improve to 22-4 overall and 12-3 in the conference and took sole possession of second place back thanks to Wyoming’s loss Wednesday to Fresno State. It keeps them a game behind Boise State (22-4, 13-2) heading into the final three games of the regular season. The Broncos survived an overtime affair at last-place Colorado State; the Lobos head to CSU for their next game this weekend.
While the rest of the front-runners may have had a tough time Wednesday, UNM did not. The Lobos led by nine after one quarter and by as many as 20 before the half. It quickly grew out of control in the second half as the lead mushroomed to 42 points in the fourth quarter.
Four players finished in double figures, including a 13th double-double of the season from center Jaisa Nunn. She actually got there with two minutes remaining in the first half and finished the game 9-for-9 from the field.
“Yeah, she’s pretty good and she shot all nine of them from about a foot,” Bradbury said.
Nunn overheard that comment and mumbled, “Cut me some slack, man,” while smiling at her coach.
UNM had 55 rebounds and had 28 assists to just 10 turnovers. All in all, it was pretty much the kind of lopsided win the Lobos needed before heading out on the road for a critical two-game stretch that culminates with a Monday visit to Boise State. Barring a slip this weekend, that game will determine the regular season champion in the MWC.
Baseball: Jared Mang’s two-run single to center in the final inning helped UNM beat Arizona 5-4 on Wednesday night in Tucson, Ariz. The Lobos (6-3) rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the top of the ninth, scoring three runs and then getting the win with the tying run stranded on base in the bottom of the frame.
Mang survived an eight-pitch at-bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth. He fouled off a pair of pitches with a full count against Wildcats reliever Andrew Nardi before delivering the game-winning hit.
UNM had 11 hits against eight Arizona pitchers. Mang, Brayden Merritt and Hayden Schilling each had two hits.
Lobos relief pitcher Jack White (1-0) got credit for the win after tossing a perfect eighth inning. Malachi Emond got his third save after a scoreless ninth. Drew Gillespie started and worked six innings in the no-decision.
New Mexico returns home to open Mountain West Conference play with a four-game series starting Friday against San Jose State.