Bombs away was the prevailing theme for the UNM women’s basketball team Thursday night.
The Lobos hit a school and Mountain West-record 21 3-pointers — seven apiece by LaTascya Duff and Jaedyn De La Cerda — en route to a 98-83 win over Utah State in Logan.
De La Cerda finished with 27 points, LaTascya Duff ended up with 24, and LaTora Duff had 13 points and 14 assists.
“I’ll definitely say we were feeling it,” De La Cerda said in a postgame phone interview. “Tora was finding us in good spots and (coach Mike Bradbury) always says if you’re open, shoot it. We did and a lot of them went in.”
It wasn’t necessarily an artistic performance. UNM missed a slew of layups, turned the ball over 16 times and sent the Aggies to the foul line 21 times.
Still, UNM’s 3-point shooting was a sight to behold.
The 21 made 3s eclipsed New Mexico’s program record of 18 set against Illinois in 2017. It also bettered the MWC standard of 20 3s in a game set by BYU (2001) and matched by Wyoming (2010) and Colorado State (2016).
Individually, LaTascya Duff and De La Cerda equaled UNM’s fourth-best single-game total with seven made 3-pointers. It was a career-best mark for Duff and tied De La Cerda’s top performance set against San Jose State in 2019.
Bradbury thought UNM set a successful shooting tone early.
“I thought we got some really good open looks from (3-point range),” he said, “and we’ve got players who usually hit those. Once Tay and Jaedyn see a couple go in, they kind of expect to make them all.”
UNM (12-4, 3-0 MWC) led just 25-21 late in the first quarter, but Utah State (5-8, 0-3) could not keep up with the Lobos’ scoring pace. De La Cerda, Antonia Anderson, LaTascya Duff and LaTora Duff netted 3s (LaTascya’s resulted in a four-point play) during a 15-2 run that bumped UNM’s lead to 40-23.
USU trimmed its deficit to 55-42 by halftime, but the visitors drained six more 3s in the third quarter and led by as many as 26 points. UNM had 20 3-pointers by the end of the third quarter, and Kath van Bennekom made it 21 with her first of the season in the fourth quarter.
“New Mexico is a very, very good offensive team. Very hard to stop,” USU coach Kayla Ard said in an interview streamed on themw.com. “I thought we played pretty well offensively, but 21 3s? It’s tough to keep up with that.”
Oddly, UNM shot better (21-for-42, 50%) from long range than it did from 2-point range (12-for-31, 39%). Anderson finished with 14 points, all 13 Lobos in uniform played at least four minutes and 11 scored.
“I thought we were pretty good offensively, not very good defensively, but it’s a road win and we’ll take it,” Bradbury said.
It was the fourth straight win for UNM, which departed for Salt Lake City soon after the game and were to arrive back in Albuquerque late Thursday night. UNM hosts San Diego State on Sunday.