by Michael Rowse
One streak fell to start the season; now the Western New Mexico University women’s basketball team can add to that list. The Lady Mustangs sustained a late run by Adams State University to come away with a 63-50 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference victory Friday night.
The victory was a large one for Western New Mexico University (WNMU), as the win snapped a 40-game overall RMAC losing streak, with the last win coming on Jan. 15, 2011 at home over Chadron State (67-61). The road win also broke two of those streaks, including a 38-game overall road streak and a 33-game RMAC streak, with the last win coming on Jan. 7, 2010 at Regis (92-80).
The teams went back-and-forth in the early going, when WNMU (2-11, 1-8 RMAC) began to make their move six minutes in. Trailing by one, 10-9, Morgan Wohltman began to heat up in a big way. She hit not one, not two, but three straight three-pointers to turn a one-point deficit into an 18-10 lead at the 12:56 mark, as Wohltman scored nine points in 1:16.
The run continued for the Lady Mustangs, with Jelesia Gray tallying four points, two at the charity stripe and the other two on a layup that concluded a 13-0 run and moved WNMU in front, 22-10, near the midway point of the first half. Adams State University (ASU) would trim the lead down to six, but WNMU closed the half strong holding a 37-28 advantage. ASU (4-8, 1-7 RMAC) then held the Lady Mustangs without a basket for nearly the first seven minutes of the second stanza, but the Lady Mustang defense stood tall, only allowing the Grizzlies to score six points in that span leaving WNMU ahead, 37-34.
Kassie Scott posted the first points of the half for WNMU on a layup on the fastbreak and later Heather Hamilton tallied a big layup to boost the lead to six, 42-36, with 11:50 to go in the game. The shot was big as it ignited WNMU on a 11-0 run, as they followed that shot with a jumper by Larissa Loera and a jumper from Wohltman to break open a close game and stretch the lead to 10, 46-36. Desiree Young added a three and a jumper by Gray closed the run to give the Lady Mustangs a 51-36 lead with 7:50 to play.
After that run, WNMU was in control the rest of the way, pushing the lead as high as 16 on a couple of occasions before closing with the 13-point win. Wohltman had the hot-hand for WNMU, leading all-scorers with 18 points, including four three-pointers. She also had four rebounds and four steals. Gray added 14 points and eight rebounds, while Veronica Celaya led the team in rebounds with nine.
WNMU held ASU to a 26.2 shooting percentage from the field (16-61), while WNMU shot right at 35 percent (21-60). The Lady Mustangs had just 10 turnovers, while they forced 18.