Behind a first quarter in which Newman University outscored the Western New Mexico University women’s basketball team 29-7, that would end up being the difference in the game as the Lady Mustangs stayed even with the Jets over the final three quarters before Newman claimed the 76-54 victory during the final game of the Conference Challenge Saturday.

 WNMU (0-2) had a big third quarter in which they outscored Newman (2-0) 19-10 and pulled back to within 15 before the Jets were able to tally the victory.

 Freshman Rachel Francisco continued to have the hot hand from yesterday as she put the first points on the board for the Lady Mustangs with a three-pointer three minutes in to trim the deficit to one, 4-3. She would later add a jumper during a 17-2 run by the Jets to move out to a 21-5 lead with three minutes to play in the first quarter.

Newman continued with the pressure as an 8-2 run closed the quarter to give the Jets a 29-7 lead through the first 10 minutes of play. They used points in the paint (12-4), points off turnovers (8-0) and bench points (12-0) to build the advantage.

Junior Ciara Fields registered the first points for the Lady Mustangs in the second quarter with a free throw 32 seconds in. Similar to the first quarter, Newman kept the offense going as they outscored WNMU 22-17 to take a 51-24 lead into halftime. 

Out of the break, WNMU got things going. Senior Melody McLaughlin, playing against her former team, opened the second half with a pair from the line. Junior Takiyah Lopez added a three-pointer to give WNMU a 5-0 run through the first two minutes.

 Freshman Cassandra Vickery and senior Jade Botelho combined on back-to-back buckets late in the quarter to cut the deficit to 19. McLaughlin and Botelho closed the third quarter with a pair of jumpers to get to within 15 before a three-pointer by Bria DeGrate boosted Newman to a 61-43 lead heading into the final frame. 

Junior Ashton Carrasco kept it an 18-point deficit with a jumper two minutes in, but the Jets answered with a 5-0 run on their way to claiming the win.

 Fields paced the Lady Mustangs with 16 points, making 5-11 from the field, including a pair of three-pointers. She also had six rebounds, a block and three steals. McLaughlin added eight points, four rebounds and four steals. Senior Myla Woods-Brown grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

Hannah Alexander led the Jets with 21 points, while Nia Roberts added 14 points and Abbey George with 10. George nearly had a double-double with eight rebounds.

WNMU made 20-76 (26) from the field, 5-26 (19) from three and 9-17 (53) from the foul line. Newman made 26-65 (40) from the field, 4-18 (22) from three and a perfect 20-20 from the charity stripe. WNMU held the edge on second-chance points (17-14), while Newman had a big edge on fastbreak points (20-2) and bench points (37-16).

WNMU will return to action on Nov. 17 when they will play at Lubbock Christian starting at 6 p.m. Central Time.

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Editor's Note

The Grant county Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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