Arizona Women's Basketball

No. 14 Arizona rallies behind Jade Loville’s 18 second-half points to beat New Mexico

Jade Loville’s shooting in the second half was the difference for Arizona against New Mexico (Andy Morales/

No. 14 Arizona was struggling to pull away from New Mexico midway through the third quarter when Jade Loville lifted the Wildcats out of The Pit in Albuquerque with the victory with her 3-point shooting.

Loville, a transfer from Arizona State, made two 3-pointers and converted on one of two free throw attempts in a decisive 11-0 run in the 77-60 victory Sunday over the Lobos.

Loville finished with 18 of her season-high 27 points in the second half. She made all six of her attempts in the second half — five from 3-point range — and finished 10 of 13 from the field.

“It’s good to see Jade come back because she had been struggling the last few games and really forcing things,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said during the KTUC 1400-AM postgame show of Loville, who had 19 points on 8-of-20 shooting, including 1 of 6 from 3-point range in wins last week against Cal-Baptist and San Diego.

“I thought today she let the game come to her. When she was hot, we kept on feeding her. I asked her to do a lot. She stepped up defensively (with a steal). I thought she did a tremendous job today.”

Before Arizona (7-0) went on the 11-0 run, New Mexico trailed 38-37 with 5:52 left in the third quarter.

Loville’s 3-pointer with 1:06 left in the quarter put Arizona ahead 54-43. She opened the fourth quarter with another 3-pointer.

“We competed — that team is probably at least Elite Eight good,” New Mexico coach Mike Bradbury said of Arizona during the postgame interview with on Mountain West Conference Network. “There’s some good takeaways but we just allowed 30 (Loville’s jersey number) to get loose on us. That obviously was not the plan.

“The game plan was we weren’t going to guard 23 (Lauren Fields), and we made her shoot it and that worked (Fields was 3 of 11 from the field). That kept us in the game. But why we lost 30 is beyond me, because that was the one we had to guard.”

Fields, a transfer from Oklahoma State, did make two 3-pointers in the first half that helped Arizona take a 36-30 halftime lead.

Esmery Martinez, a West Virginia transfer, scored all eight of her points of the game in the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats a 70-52 lead with 3:28 left. She also finished with eight rebounds.

After New Mexico scored five unanswered points, Loville answered with her fifth 3-pointer to increase the lead to 73-57 with 2:32 left.

Shaina Pellington returned from missing Arizona’s wins over Cal Baptist and San Diego last week at San Diego because of a minor ankle injury.

Pellington had 15 points at halftime — leading Arizona to a 36-30 lead — on 6-of-8 shooting from the field with two assists, two steals and a blocked shot.

She finished with 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field with two assists.

“Having (Pellington) drive it and I think she found a couple of shooters, just controlling the tempo, I thought she did a good job,” Barnes said. “I thought she did a good job, so it’s good to have her back.”

Arizona closed the game strong defensively with eight steals in the fourth quarter — three each with Martinez and Lauren Fields and two by Helena Pueyo.

New Mexico (4-4), which entered with a three-game winning streak, finished with 26 turnovers that led to 36 points for Arizona.

Pueyo, recently tabbed a team captain by Barnes and her staff, finished with six points, five rebounds, nine assists and six steals.

The Wildcats had 20 steals in the game led by Pueyo with Martinez and Fields each tallying five.

Barnes indicated that the 16-point victory was not indicative of the game overall.

“First half was a really tight game,” she said. “I thought the second half we improved our defense tremendously. We had a tough time guarding them; they’re a tough team. They got isolated. That’s what they wanted. It was a closer game than the (final) score indicated, for sure.”

She sensed things were not right immediately calling a timeout 1:35 into the game.

“We weren’t on point. We weren’t focused in following the game plan from the first two possessions and they scored five points out of it,” Barnes said. “So that’s just a lack of focus and concentration. It’s not acceptable. I never call a timeout that early.”

Barnes said the Wildcats played well after that early timeout and throughout the course of the game.

“We really responded after talking at halftime with some adjustments,” she said. “I think they were hurting us. But I thought overall, this is a good test for us on the road in a really good environment.

“There was a lot of fans here. We had to face a little adversity. They went on runs. We had to weather the storm. So that was a good growing game for us.”

Arizona next plays Kansas Thursday at 6 p.m. at McKale Center.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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