Stevens: Lobos expect Warm Welcome in Cold Wyoming
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/04/2014

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Basketball – On The Mountain West Road.

Wednesday: 7 p.m. (MT) – New Mexico (8-12, 3-6 MW) at Wyoming (13-6, 4-4)

On The Air: 610-AM KNML with Joe Behrend  (live stats on www.GoWyo.com)

GoLobos.com:  Game Story, Complete Stats

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

Lobo Bryce Owens probably is right about one thing.  New Mexico is heading into a hornets’ nest in chilly Laramie to play a Wyoming team nursing bad memories of The Pit and the Lobos.

A Wyoming team seeking some feel-good payback.

I expect them to come out and just try to slaughter us,” said UNM’s talented point guard. “I think they are very, very upset that they lost here at the Pit and I know they are going to try and pull out everything to try and beat us.”

The Lobos also have to be hoping that Owens is wrong about another statement she made prior to New Mexico heading off to Cowgirl country.

“I know that since we are in Wyoming all their shots that didn’t fall here are going to fall there,” said Owens.

OK, it’s possible that the Cowgirls will play better – and shoot better -- in their Arena-Auditorium than they did in The Pit. The Cowgirls are 4-0 in Mountain West play in Laramie averaging 74 points in those wins over Fresno State, Boise State, Nevada and Air Force.

The Cowgirls also looked to be the hottest team in the Mountain heading to Albuquerque where the Lobos hit them with a hurtful 75-65 loss. That was the first of the four games Wyoming has dropped on the MW road.

It’s a curious up-and-down record for Wyoming simply because this is a talented Cowgirls’ team that usually doesn’t sacrifice defense and fundamentals for scoring. Coach Joe Legerski hasn’t won 209 games at Wyoming without his Cowgirls playing the game well at both ends of the court. But their record obviously reflects a different Wyoming team at home.

At New Mexico, the Cowgirls shot 39.7 percent from the floor, but allowed the Lobos to shoot 51.8 percent.  Wyoming is 12-1 when it shoots a better percentage than its foe. Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez agrees with Owens, to a point, about Wyoming’s shooting touch in Laramie.  It might be better.

“They had wide open looks (in The Pit) they aren’t going to miss at home,” said Sanchez.

Of course, the Cowgirls won’t make everything they throw at the hoop. But they do seem to play well in front of their loving crowd that averages 3,225. Their only home loss was by four points to Top 20 Colorado.

“We are preparing for everything,” said Sanchez.

One player UNM needs to prepare for is Wyoming star, Kayla Woodward. She went 2-of-14 from the floor in The Pit.  The 5-foot-11 junior is averaging 17.7 points. The Cowgirls work hard to give her – and all Wyoming shooters -- open looks.

Wyoming is a team that runs its motion offense off a whole lot of rock-hard screens and Fallon Lewis averages 14.8 points and Kaitlyn Mileto averages 13.8.  Lewis hauls down 9.7 boards a game.

“We have to make sure that defensively we talk and that our switches are tight,” said Sanchez. “They do a nice job of screening and screening and screening again.”

The Cowgirls are not a huge team with 6-1 Jordan Sibrel their tallest starter.  They will bring in 6-4 Kaylie Rader.  The Lobos did a good job attacking the Wyoming interior defense in The Pit.

“We have to take it right at them, go inside like we did last time,” said Sanchez.   UNM is led in scoring by Antiesha Brown with a 12.8 average and Sara Halasz at 11.2. Deeva Vaughn is scoring at an 8.9 clip and Bryce Owens is at 7.4 points per game.

Said Owens: “I love road trips. It’s so fun.”

The Cowgirls’ plan surely is to take the fun out of it for the Lobos. Laramie can be a tough place to play because of the weather, because of the bus ride from Denver, because of the rowdy AA crowd, because of the 7,000 feet altitude, but mostly because of the Cowgirls. They protect their turf well.

“Once you get in the gym, you are ready to play,” said Sanchez. “They (Wyoming) are going to have a lot of fans. They know how to drive in snow.  But we have won in Wyoming before.  If our kids play well, we have a great shot.”

Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former award-winning Sports Columnist and Associate Sports Editor at The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at rstevens50@comcast.net.

New Mexico Lobos Basketball 2013-14 Season 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)