Stevens: UNM Lobos to Face Quick Guards at Nevada
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/14/2014

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Mountain West Basketball – At Nevada

Saturday: 5 p.m. (MT); New Mexico (8-14, 3-8) at Nevada (12-11, 7-5 MW)

On The Air: 610-AM KNML with Joe Behrend; Mountain West Network 

GoLobos.com:  Game Story, Complete Stats

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

The Nevada media guides says that 6-foot-7 Mimi Mungedi is the tallest Wolf Pack player since 1999-98. They also list her at 6-foot-8.

Maybe Mimi is growing, but all Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez know is Mungedi is tall and UNM might be playing without its tallest player, 6-4 Kianna Keller, who is nursing a knee injury.

Mungedi isn’t exactly a focus of the Nevada offense and she only averages 6.8 boards a game.  But she takes care of the back door.

“She runs the floor. She has a nice hook shot,” said Sanchez.  “She stays (in the paint) a lot. She does a good job.”

Mungedi is a concern because she allows the athletic and aggressive Nevada guards to take some chances in other areas. Here are a couple of other examples of what Sanchez’s Lobos can expect in Nevada’s Lawlor Events Center.

1.      The Wolf Pack pounded an athletic San Diego State team 84-65 on that floor.

2.      The Wolf Pack matched a school record in that game by knocking down 11 treys.

The message here can be simplified.  The Pack are good at home. The Pack can shoot.

“We’re still a work in progress,” said Sanchez.  “We just need to figure out how to finish games. And our guards have to do a better job taking care of the ball. And I don’t think we are guarding the perimeter very well. Our post defense has been good, but we have to guard the perimeter better.”

The Lobos will have Deeva Vaughn, who was ejected from the Boise State game, but her foul was ruled to not be intentional. The MW could have sat Vaughn out for a game if they ruled her fifth foul to be excessive. It wasn’t.

Nevada will take to the court with a 12-11 overall mark and a solid 7-5 league slate. The Wolf Pack, like every team, also can have an off-night when it comes to scoring.  They are coming off a 73-48 loss at Fresno State that snapped Nevada’s three-game winning streak. Nevada shot 28.6 percent from the floor in that loss.

They had to go into overtime to beat an Air Force team that is now 0-12.  The Pack had 26 turnovers against the Falcons.

The Wolf Pack has the depth to come at opponents’ in waves.  They have nine players averaging 10.2 minutes to 28.8.  They have depth in scoring (71.3 average), but have only three players in double figures: guards Danika Sharp at 12.7, Terilyn Moe at 12.1 and Mimi Mungedi at 10.2 points per game. The 5-9 Arielle Wideman has 28.8 minutes in average playing time and averages 9.2 points per game.

The Wolf Pack allows 70.6 points per game, but the opposition has to work for those points. Nevada is No. 2 in the Mountain West in field goal percentage defense at .424 percent and No. 2 in 3-point defense at .302 percent.  With the 6-8 presence in the post, Nevada can extend its defense with pressure.

A key for UNM will be keeping the Wolf Pack off the boards.  They top the MW in that category averaging 44.6 per game and are No. 1 in offensive boards at 15.6 per game.   Nevada is a plus 3.8 in rebounding margin and UNM is plus 5.0.  Nevada is led in rebounding by the 6-8 Mungedi (6.8), 6-foot Emily Burns (6.0) and 6-1 Aja Johnson (5.2).

Nevada is trying to stay on the top half of the MW standings with its 7-5 record. The Pack is in the No. 4 slot looking up at 11-1 Colorado State.  The Lobos are 3-8, one bump ahead of 0-12 Air Force.

The Lobos are coming off a tough 86-80 overtime loss in The Pit to Boise State and UNM has lost seven of eight.

The Lobos are paced in scoring by Antiesha Brown at 13.3 points per game followed by Sara Halasz (10.9) and Khadijah Shumpert (10.7).  Halasz tops the UNM rebounding charts with her 6.3 average followed by Shumpert and Keller, both at 5.5.  Vaughn scores at a 9.4 clip and hauls down 5.4 boards per game.

UNM shoots 39 percent from the field and yields 42 percent shooting.

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.