Senior Jade Botelho again put up solid numbers Saturday as she went for 12 points to help lead the Western New Mexico University women’s basketball team against Texas Woman’s University. The Pioneers used a strong second quarter to pull away and never look back as they defeated the Lady Mustangs 67-43 in Lone Star Conference action.
Botelho made 6-11 from the field, along with two rebounds, two assists and a steal in 37 minutes. Dating back to her 10-point performance against Texas A&M-Kingsville back on Jan. 20, she has reached double-digits in six of her past seven games adding scoring efforts of 19, 14, 19, 6, 10 in those previous games before today.
Junior Ciara Fields added nine points, freshman Rachel Francisco with seven and both senior Melody McLaughlin and junior Takiyah Lopez had six points apiece. Fields led the team in rebounds with seven and tied for the team lead in steals with three as Francisco also swiped three steals. Francisco dished out a team-high four assists.
Texas Woman’s (9-13, 6-10 LSC) scored the first five points of the game before a Fields free throw three minutes in got the Lady Mustangs (1-23, 1-15 LSC) on the board. The Pioneers held the lead throughout the first 10 minutes, as the Lady Mustangs pulled back to within four at the 6:05 mark on a jumper by McLaughlin and then back to five a few times, with the last coming right at the end of the quarter when McLaughlin connected on a layup to leave Texas Woman’s ahead 15-10.
Francisco opened the scoring in the second quarter 17 seconds in when she drilled a jumper to trim the deficit to three. TWU then caught fire as they went on a 10-0 run to jump their lead out to a 25-12 advantage near the midway point of the quarter.
Redshirt senior Myla Woods-Brown stepped back and drained a three-pointer with 2:34 to go in the half to cut the lead under 10 at 26-17 before another run closed the half for the Pioneers as they finished the final few minutes on a 8-0 run to hold a 34-17 lead at halftime.
A Botelho layup a minute into the second half moved WNMU to within 14, but that would be as close as they could get, with TWU going on a 10-0 run to stretch the lead to 45-21. The Pioneers continued to control play into the fourth quarter as they outscored the Lady Mustangs 18-14 to take the 67-43 victory.
TWU had three players score in double-figures led by 14 points and eight rebounds by Alexis Nezianya. Whitney Apari added 13 points and nine rebounds and Bri’anna Gray posted 10 points.
TWU shot well from the field making 27-49 (55), 3-12 (25) from three and just 10-20 (50) from the foul line. WNMU struggled from the field making 18-56 (32), 5-23 (22) from three and attempted just three free throws going 2-3 (67).
WNMU held the edge on second-chance points (10-2) and were even in fastbreak points at two apiece. TWU led in points off turnovers (19-13), bench points (23-3) and points in the paint (38-18).
The Lady Mustangs will return home for their final two home games of the season this coming week. They will face Cameron first on Thursday starting at 5:30 p.m. WNMU will be wearing pink in support of breast cancer awareness and Play4Kay. Saturday’s game against Midwestern State will be senior day starting at 2 p.m.