Stevens: Can Aggies Change History in The Pit?
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/06/2013

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Basketball -- In The Pit

Saturday: 7 p.m. (MT), New Mexico State at New Mexico

On The Air: 610-AM KNML with Joe Behrend and Nikki Heckroth-Lobato

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By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

To throw some quick reality into the Lobo-Aggie rivalry and maybe give perspective to the Aggie women’s motivation on Saturday, here are a few telling stats:

New Mexico State has lost 11 straight basketball games to the New Mexico Lobos.  The Aggies have not left the court victorious since 2007.  It gets worse: NMSU has lost 33 of the past 34 games.  You go back to 1995 to find the next Aggie win.

The Lobos also are on a 16-0 run in The Pit.

So, you think an Aggie upset in The Pit would be an important step for the New Mexico State program?

Of course, you can twist that, too.  You think the Lobos want to be the first team to lose to the Aggies since 2007?

For sure, NMSU will be coming to The Pit looking to sting the Lobos.  The Aggies of Las Cruces are wedged between Albuquerque and El Paso giving them two geographical rivals. The Aggies already have been swept by the Miners.  NMSU dropped the second game of the UTEP series 80-61 in the Cruces’ Pan American Center on Dec. 3.

The Aggies – and the Lobos – don’t have to worry about the results of a two-game series this season.  The 7 p.m., tip Saturday in The Pit is the only game on the schedule this season between the two New Mexico programs.

 It’s all on the line Saturday.  UNM has a 46-25 edge in the series and beat NMSU 60-37 and 68-44 in last year’s sweep.

The Lobos are coming off a win over SE Missouri in their Thanksgiving Tournament and are looking to toss out a two-game win streak to carry into a nine-day stretch leading into their next game – a monster game at No. 4/6 Stanford on Dec. 16.

But first things first:  The Aggies.

New Mexico State played well in its tournament (Nov. 29-30) posting a 77-73 win over Northern Illinois and dropping a close 84-81 decision to Milwaukee.  NMSU was led in that Aggie tournament by 6-foot sophomore Sasha Weber, who averaged 17 points in those two games. Freshman Brianna Freeman, a 6-1 forward, had 15 points and 10 boards vs. Milwaukee.

It would be nice for the Aggies if those two players continued to reach the scoreboard and give help to NMSU’s leading scorer, Vanessa Garner.   The 5-8 freshman is averaging 13.4 points and scored 26 vs. Loyola Marymount in November.

The Aggies have some scorers.  Sophomore Elena Holguin, a 5-8 guard, has scored 19 and 18 for NMSU this season.

The Aggies are young.  They have no seniors in their starting lineup going with one junior, two sophomores and two freshmen.   The two sophomores – Abby Scott and Weber – are the two returning starters from last year’s 15-16 NMSU team.  The Aggies have 6-foot-5 Audra Jones on their roster, but she averages only eight minutes a game and has yet to score this season.

NMSU will bring a 3-5 mark into The Pit with wins over Boise State (98-68), Eastern New Mexico (88-56) and Northern Illinois (77-73).  The also come to Albuquerque on a two-game skid losing to Milwaukee and UTEP.  The Miners also beat NMSU 94-69 in El Paso.  NMSU lost to Loyola by 23 points.  UNM beat Loyola by four points.

The Miners, an aggressive, athletic team, took advantage of NMSU’s youth with pressure and forced the Aggies into 24 turnovers in the loss at Cruces.  The Miners had 12 steals.

Again, the Aggies can score.  They average 75.2 points and shoot 42 percent from the floor. 

The Lobos could be without forward Deeva Vaughn on Saturday.  Vaughn took a foot to the head in UNM’s win over SE Missouri and has concussion symptoms.   That pushed 6-foot-4 freshman Kianna Keller into a starting role, but Keller has played with a lot of poise and confidence in her minutes.  She had nine points and 10 boards vs. SE Missouri.

The good news about Vaughn is that she will be back.  Coach Yvonne Sanchez already has lost three players to her front line for 2013-14: Freshman Lauren Newman, sophomore Whitney Johnson and junior Ebony Walker.  The Johnson/Walker/Shumpert combo would have given UNM one of the stronger post games in the Mountain West.  Now, the Lobos look for scoring in other areas.

The Lobos top three threats in scoring are Antiesha Brown, Sara Halasz and Khadijah Shumpert.  Brown and Halasz are inside threats behind their jumpers and drives.  Brown averages 15.6 points and Halasz scores at a 10.9 clip.  Shumpert is more of a threat inside with a 9.8 average.

The athletic Halasz hauls down 6.0 rebounds a game followed by Shumpert at 5.7 and Brown at 5.7.  That trio should get a lot of defensive attention from the Aggies.

It’s possible the Lobos will be looking at a zone defense vs. the Aggies.  The Lobos are shooting 37.1 percent from the field and 26.1 percent – last in the Mountain West – in 3-point shooting.

The Lobos still have some work to do on their shooting, but their defense has been solid.  They are holding teams to 64.6 points a game which is No. 2 in the MW.  UNM also is No. 3 in the MW in 3-point defense.

For a young Aggie team, that makes at least two pretty intimidating factors to overcome Saturday in their bid to change history:  The Lobo defense; The Pit.

New Mexico Lobo Women -- 2013-2014 Roster 

No. Sort by Number
Name Sort by Name
Pos. Sort by Position
Ht. Sort by Height
Yr. Sort by Eligibility Year
Exp. Sort by Years Experience
Hometown (Prev School)
1   Brooke Allemand G 5-4 Fr. HS Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas (Boerne-Samuel V. Champion HS)
3   Josie Greenwood F 5-11 Fr. HS Hobart, Australia (Rosny College)
4   Alex Lapeyrolerie G 5-11 Fr. HS Highland Village, Texas (Edward S. Marcus HS)
11   Alexa Chavez F 6-0 So. 1L Santa Fe, N.M. (St. Michael's HS)
12   Bryce Owens G 5-4 So. 1L DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto HS)
13   Khadijah Shumpert F 6-0 So. 1L Minneapolis, Minn. (Benilde St. Margaret's HS)
15   Antiesha Brown G 5-10 RJr. 1L Clovis, N.M. (Texas Tech)
20   Sara Halasz G 5-11 RSr. 3L Ohatchee, Ala. (Lakes (Wash.) HS)
21   Marissa Perry G 5-4 Fr. HS Albuquerque, N.M. (Hope Christian HS)
25   Brea Mitchell G 5-10 So. 1L Plano, Texas (Plano West HS)
30   Lauren Newman F 6-1 Fr. HS El Paso, Texas (El Dorado HS)
32   Kianna Keller F 6-4 Fr. HS Waukesha, Wisc. (Waukesha West HS)
33   Maddie Muraida C 6-2 Jr. 2L Albuquerque, N.M. (Albuquerque Academy)
34   Whitney Johnson C 6-2 RSo. 1L Highland, Utah (Lone Peak HS)
42   Ebony Walker C 6-2 RJr. RS Albuquerque, N.M. (Texas Tech)
44   Deeva Vaughn F 6-0 RSr. 1L Albuquerque, N.M. (Northern Oklahoma - Enid)