STEVENS: Coach Flanagan Says Red Raiders Have All The Components To Be Tough
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/12/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 12, 2008

Lobo Basketball
Lobos vs. Texas Tech
When/Where: 6:05 p.m. Saturday, The Pit
On The Air: Mountain West Sports; 610 KNML-AM
Promotion: Pack The Pit tickets $4

Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

If you are looking for any weaknesses in the Texas Tech Red Raiders, don't ask Lobos coach Don Flanagan what they might be. Oh, Flanagan probably sees a couple of flaws to exploit and attack, but basically he looks at the Raiders and sees a pretty good basketball team.

"They have all the ingredients it takes to have a successful team," said Flanagan. "They have a physical inside presence. They have about four wings, who can shoot it. They have a point guard who is very quick.

"They can shoot it from the outside or they can get it inside and score. They hit the boards hard. They transition pretty well and they run a lot of nice offensive sets."

Say, is Texas Tech visiting The Pit on Saturday or is this a rematch with Stanford? These Red Raiders sound like the real deal. "We need to show up with our A-game," said UNM senior Angela Hartill. "They are pretty good."

The Raiders will step into The Pit with a 5-3 mark trying to give the University of New Mexico its first blemish on The Pit floor where the 8-1 Lobos are 8-0 with the lone loss coming at Stanford. Tech has a commanding 10-1 lead in the series.

The Raiders' top gun is 6-2 senior Dominic Seals, who scores at a 13.4 clip and is Tech's leading rebounder with an 8.0 average. Rebounding is a key aspect of the Raiders' game as 6-2 Jordan Barncastle averages 6.6 boards a game and 5-11 Ashlee Robertson hauls them down at a 5.6 clip. Flanagan said he is worried about Tech's inside ability.

"The inside athleticism, the jumping and the quickness, we don't match up that well with," he said. "There are some areas we aren't as quick as they are. We have to contain and we have to make them shoot over our hands."

The Lobos are paced in scoring by 5-6 Amy Beggin at 14.6 and 6-3 Angela Hartill at 12 points a game. Amanda Adamson averages 9.7 points per game and tops UNM's rebounding charts with a 5.4 average.

Flanagan says the Raiders press in an attempt to change the tempo of the game and to take seconds off the shot clock. The tempo might not be an issue Saturday as both teams are aggressive and quick to attack the basket.

"They run a containment press, full court, but not a lot of pressure," said Flanagan. "Then they'll drop back into a zone."

As a zone-busting team, the reviews on the Lobos are mixed. They hit at a .357 clip from behind the line, but three Lobos guard/wings -- Beggin, Lauren Taylor and Georonika Jackson -- hit at a .400 percentage or better. UNM is shooting .407 from the field as a team.

A huge edge for UNM so far this season has come from the free-throw line where the Lobos are 145-of-189 compared to 87-of-127 for their opponents. The Lobos also outrebound the enemy by more than seven boards a game. If UNM can outrebound the Raiders, Flanagan will be a happy coach.

"They are a quick team that really crashes the boards," said Lobo Eileen Weissmann. "We have to really hold our own on the boards. It's going to be a hard game, a physical game, but we're ready for that."

Editor's note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at rstevens50@comcast.net. Previous articles are available at The Richard Stevens Corner