Stevens: Lobos Face Wildcats Who Have Claws Inside & Out
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/20/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 20, 2011

Lobos vs. Arizona - Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader


New Mexico Lobos Women's Basketball - At Arizona

Wednesday: 5 p.m. (MT), New Mexico Lobos (4-7) at Arizona Wildcats (9-1)
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By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

In their attempt to produce back-to-back road wins, the New Mexico Lobo women's basketball team will find things a lot different in Tucson, Ariz., than what the Lobos experienced at Houston Baptist.

It gets nicer in the gym - but tougher on the court.

The Lobos will be in a high-tech college basketball arena going against a solid Pac-12 Arizona team that is 9-1 and undefeated on their home floor.

The Wildcats' McKale Center is a huge difference from the modest digs at Houston Baptist where UNM ran to a 65-38 romp. McKale is plush and Pac-12.

However, it's possible the fans-to-seats ratio might be comparable to what UNM saw in Houston. The `Cats drew 1,546 into the 14,545-seat McKale Arena for their last home game, a 66-42 roll over Long Beach State.

The crowd shouldn't be an intimidation factor for UNM, but the Wildcats should be. UNM handed a winless Houston Baptist team its 11th loss. The Wildcats of Tucson are made of better stuff.

"They are really good," said Lobo coach Yvonne Sanchez. "They have quality guards and they are good inside, too. We'll have to do a lot of things right against them."

The two `Cats with the nastiest claws are Davellyn Whyte and Candice Warthen. The 5-foot-11 Whyte scores at a 17.9 clip and the 5-5 Warthen is a step back at 16.8. This should be the best one-two guard tandem the 4-7 Lobos have faced so far this season -- except the Lobos probably won't see it.

Warthen has sat out the last two Arizona games trying to get healthy for the Pac-12 wars. She is not expected to play against UNM.

However, the Lobos still might be facing the best one-two guard tandem they have faced so far this season. The Wildcats actually have a dynamic one-two-three guard tandem when you toss the 5-5 Shanita Arnold into the mix.

Arnold, a jet, averages 9.2 points with 54 assists. Arnold had 11 assists in Arizona's last win, 67-37 at Arkansas Pine Bluff. However, you have to put that road romp in the same category as UNM's win at Houston Baptist. Pine Bluff is 0-9 on the season.

Arnold is the Cat that stirs the Arizona offense, averaging 5.4 assists per game. Whyte and Warthen usually are the hot `Cats on the scoreboard. The 'Cats are a team that can hurt you from long range. As a team, Arizona has made 72 treys, while launching 184 times. Warthen has made 16 treys this season.

The perimeter game might be Arizona's strength, but the `Cats' inside game has some bite, too. The 6-2 Erica Barnes is a threat in the paint with her 13.6 scoring average backed by a 9.1 average on the boards. Barnes had 13 points and 12 boards in that Arizona win over Long Beach State.

The Wildcats are hoping for additional firepower inside from freshman Aley Rohde, who showed her potential with 21 points and 13 rebounds vs. Long Beach State. Rohde has had some trouble finishing inside, but found her touch against Long Beach State. Wildcat coach Niya Butts said after that game that Rohde "made her layups today."

The Rohde/Barnes combo could present problems for UNM inside. Barnes is aggressive and Rhode is big - 6-foot-5 and not thin. Arizona has some additional size inside in 6-2 Cheshi Poston, who averages 4.7 points and 5.5 boards.

The `Cats' schedule hasn't exactly been challenging so far, but it's easy to see why Arizona is 9-1. They usually attack with three quality guards on the edge and their high-low post combo of Barnes and Rohde is something teams have to deal with one-on-one.

Arizona also has decent depth with nine players averaging in double-digit minutes. That depth should come in handy if Warthen stays on the bench.

The Cats have the statistical edge in shooting vs. UNM: 69 percent to 67 percent for UNM at the free-throw line; 39 percent to 33 percent from 3-point range; and 43.5 percent to 40 percent for UNM in overall shooting percentage.

The Lobos have two players in double figures with Caroline Durbin carrying a 14.8 average and Porche Torrance at 10.7. Durbin has a .514 percentage from behind the line and Jourdan Erskineis at .400. The seven other Lobos averaging double-digit minutes are shooting under 30 percent from long range.

Lobos vs. Arizona Notes:

  • This is the 21st meeting with Arizona holding an 11-9 edge.

  • The Wildcats beat UNM last season 84-60 in Albuquerque.

  • Arizona's only loss was to Brigham Young.

    Coach Yvonne Sanchez


Probable StartersHTPositionSeason Statistics
12 - Nikki Nelson5-5Guard4.0 Pts. - 2.7 Asts.
14 - Jourdan Erskine6-0Post6.3 Pts. -- 7.5 Rebs.
24 - Caroline Durbin6-0Guard14.8 Pts. - 4.5 Rebs.
23 - Porche Torrance6-1Wing10.7 Pts. - 8.7 Rebs.
21 - Jayme Jackson5-7Guard6.8 Pts. - 1.5 Asts..

The NM BenchHTPositionSeason Statistics
11 - Lauren Taylor6-0Guard6.1 Pts. - 1.4 Rebs.
35 - Chinyere Nnaji6-0Post2.3 Pts. - 3.9 Rebs.
43 - Emily Stark6-5Post1.1 Pts. - 1.0 Rebs.
44 - Deeva Vaughn6-0Wing3.2 Pts. - 3.2 Rebs.
33 - Maddie Muraida6-2Post0.7 Pts. - 1.0 Rebs.
25 - Ashley Rhoades6-2Post0.0 Pts. - 4.0 Rebs.
41 - Jaime Parker5-9Wing1.0 Pts. -- 0.3 Rebs.