Nov. 4, 2008
Tuesday: Lobos 83, Melbourne Roos 41
Sunday: Lobos vs. Alaska-Anchorage, 2 p.m., The Pit
By Richard Stevens
In a 42-point exhibition win, Lobo Coach Don Flanagan found exactly what he sought: things to work on.
"I saw some things I didn't like. I thought it was less than impressive," Flanagan said following his University of New Mexico's 83-41 romp over the Melbourne Roos Tuesday night in The Pit. "I don't think we performed particularly well. We have a ways to go."
The Lobos also got a lot of nice looks off the dribble-drive motion offense that Flanagan has installed for the 2008-09 season. But looks don't necessarily turn into baskets.
The Lobos shot 38.5 percent from the floor in the second half and 40 percent for the game. UNM was 38.1 percent from the 3-point line, 30.8 percent in the first half.
The dribble-drive offense has a lot of requirements to be successful and a high shooting percentage is one of them.
"We missed way too many easy shots," said Flanagan. "But we had a lot of people miss shots they normally make."
Said junior point guard Amy Beggin: "I don't think we shot very well. I was 3-for-10. I think some of us had first-game jitters, but we definitely need to shoot better than that."
The Lobos ran to a 46-19 halftime lead and the game was over against international competition. The Roos were down 70-31 with 8:27 to play and the Lobos led by as much as 46 points before closing to the 42-point win.
But when Flanagan goes back to the drawing board, back to the practice court, he'll have several messages for his Lobos. The main one might be: play defense.
"Our whole team's defense needs work," said Flanagan. "We'll straighten that out. Kids hear better when they run. (Wednesday) we're going to work on defense. We were undisciplined with our hands."
The Lobos moved their feet OK, but too often placed Roos at the line following Lobo reaches on defense. Melbourne shot 16 free throws to 15 for the Lobos. That's another thing about the dribble-drive offense. It is designed, in part, to get Lobos to the free throw line. The offense works better when you shoot more free throws than your opponent.
Halasz, who just might eventually be a candidate for Mountain West Conference Newcomer of The Year, looked smooth at times and street-ball smart at times. Her 18 points led all scorers.
"That's her style of play," Flanagan said of Halasz's aggressiveness with the ball.
Nelson, who had been harassed and shadowed on defense by Beggin in UNM's two scrimmages, did better against the Roos' defense. Nelson, who sat out last season with a knee injury, went 4-of-7 from the floor, 2-of-2 from behind the line.
"We could have done better," was Nelson's one-sentence evaluation of UNM's play. All 13 Lobos made the court Tuesday and all 13 scored at least two points. Senior Angela Hartill was the one of three Lobos to reach double figures, with 10 points. Amanda Adamson led UNM with eight rebounds followed by Halasz, Jessica Kielpinski and Amanda Best with seven apiece.
Halasz led UNM in scoring in the first half with 12 points. Nelson and Beggin chipped in seven apiece. The Lobos outrebounded the Roos 28-to-23. UNM shot 41.3 percent from the floor in the first half. The Lobos were 4-of-13 from the 3-point line for 30.8 percent, with no Lobo making more than one hoop from behind the line. Halasz took the most shots for UNM, launching 12 times and making five.
At the first media timeout of the first half, the Lobos led 11-2. Flanagan's dribble-drive offense created numerous good looks for UNM including 3-point bombs by Hartill and Halasz. Halasz had six points at the first break and should of have more, but didn't get any breaks early from the rims.
The Lobos came out of the timeout and raced to an 18-2 lead behind a Beggin 2-pointer and a Beggin 3-pointer.
Nelson made her presence known with a 3-pointer at 12:58 followed by a pull-up jumper from eight feet. At the 11:40 timeout, UNM had drifted up 25-3, the last two points in that run coming off a neat reverse layup by UNM's Best.
The Roos finally made a couple of field goals and UNM's 6-6 Valerie Kast pushed in a 15-footer to make it 31-10 at the 7:37 timeout. The final media timeout of the first half had UNM up 39-17 before UNM outscored the Roos 8-to-2 to form the 46-19 halftime bulge.
Editor's note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous articles are available at The Richard Stevens Corner