By Lindsey Boyd:
San Jose State could have really used a mulligan for the third quarter this afternoon.
The Spartans (7-15, 4-6 in MW) last met New Mexico (13-10, 8-4 in MW) March 8, 2016, where they fell short in the first half, losing 65-51. The opposite happened today as the Spartans outscored the Lobos 45-40 in the first half but couldn’t maintain in in the second half losing 82-72.
SJSU frittered the game away in the third as New Mexico leaped out of the break on a 22-0 run, scoring 29 points to the Spartan’s 9 in the third frame.
“It felt like we won the hustling battle in the first half,” said Spartans’ head coach Jamie Craighead. “Third quarter they came out guns blazin’… we shot the same amount of shots. They just made 11 and we made two.”
Discounting the third period, the Spartans would have won the contest 63-53.
Guard Dezz Ramos was three points shy of scoring her 1,000th point in the second quarter. She was hit as she attempted a layup and fell laughing to the ground. Her teammates ran back on defense, but she stood ready for a shot at the three point line with 27 seconds left in the half.
The third quarter was Dezz-asterous for the Spartans. The pressure was on for Ramos to reach 1,000 career points in her 51st game, faster than any player in SJSU history. She missed all six of her shots in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Ramos finally got her 1,000th point.
“It’s a tough way to get that record and be the fastest player to get that record,” Craighead said. “I wish we could have done it on a win.”
New Mexico, led by 6-foot-5 center Richelle van der Keijl, towered over the shorter Spartans’ lineup, but SJSU outrebounded the visiting Lobos 55-40, the best on-the-glass ratio the Spartans have posted this season. Today’s contest was the first time in a month that the Spartans have won the battle on the boards.
Six-foot forward Jasmine Smith battled down low in the paint, battling against New Mexico’s 6 foot 5 center Richelle van der Keijl. Smith snatched 13 rebounds and hooked and rolled her way to 24 points.
“Make it jazzy” was heard from the crowd, as Smith posted up, did her classic shoulder drop and sunk her shots.
“I was really trying to use my quickness to my advantage,” Smith said. “I knew that in the game she is much stronger … but I just tried to rebound as much as possible.”
In the first half, the Spartans definitely used their speed to tire out the Lobos. After the Lobos shot, they retreated back on defense allowing SJSU to rebound 17 of their shots, compared to New Mexico’s three offensive rebounds.
Forward Paris Baird’s quick jumpers and threes put up 10 points in the first half. Like Smith, Baird also had to guard van der Keijl. Guard Cherise Beynon and van der Keijl led the Lobos with a combined 29 of New Mexico’s 40 points in the first two quarters.
New Mexico came out a new team after half and started the third on a 22-0 run. The Lobos claimed the lead by shooting 11-19 while the Spartans shot 4-19.
“We had plenty of people taking shots in those 19 shots but we went cold,” Craighead said. Half-time was bad. Can we just get rid of half-time?”
The Spartan’s ended with 88 shot attempts to New Mexico’s 65, and outrebounded the visiting team 55-40.
The game did not come down to rebounds or defense, but to how many times can the ball could land in the basket. With the Spartan’s shooting percentage at 33 percent and the Loco’s at 47.7 percent, New Mexico took the game.
The Spartans will play again on Wednesday, Feb. 8 against the San Diego State Aztecs at the Event Center at 2 p.m.