Dec. 29, 2011
New Mexico Lobos Women's Basketball - At New Mexico State
Friday: 6:30 p.m., New Mexico Lobos at New Mexico State Aggies
On The Air: 610-AM KNML; AggieVision (TV)
GoLobos.com: Game Story, Stats, GameTracker
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
In looking to avoid a sweep by New Mexico State, the Lobo men needed their center (Drew Gordon) to show up. In looking for a sweep over the Aggie women, the Yvonne Sanchez Lobos might be hoping an Aggie center doesn't show up.
"I anticipate she'll play about 35 minutes," said Sanchez of NMSU's Tabytha Wampler. "She's a kid who could get 25, 30 point on you, if you let her. We really have to stop her. Now she's not their only player, but she is the one they go to."
The Lobos did a good job on the 6-foot-1 Wampler in The Pit, which was helpful in producing a 54-53 Lobo nail-biter.
The big Aggie played only 15 minutes and the Wampler-led rally that pulled the Aggies out of a 45-32 hole and into a 52-48 lead fizzled when Wampler fouled out with 3:55 to play. The Aggies scored only a single point the rest of the way.
Of course, the best way to slow down Wampler is to sit her on the bench. If that doesn't happen, the next best way to slow down Wampler might be to throw Lobo Porche Torrance on her. Torrance is an All-Mountain West defender and UNM's top shot blocker.
"We'll put Porche on her," said Sanchez. "We might double team her, if we need to. Try to deny her touches."
Wampler got off only seven shots in The Pit and no shots in the first half as she played only two minutes. With the best Aggie on the bench, UNM led 27-24 at the half.
The Aggies are not the quickest team the Lobos will play this season, but the Aggie press did produce some helpful turnovers for NMSU down their stretch rally.
"We have a little bit of a new strategy on breaking it," said UNM's Carolyn Durbin, who paces UNM with a 15.3 average. "We obviously had a close game up here in The Pit , so we know they are really going to want to beat us down there.
"Both teams are going to be playing really hard."
The Lobos are carrying a 4-8 mark into the game while NMSU is 2-9, with a single win in the Pan American Center. The Aggies are coming off a 74-37 pounding at Utah. The Lobos have won eight in a row and 30 of the past 31 games against NMSU.
The Lobos are in the Top 45 nationally in both field-goal percentage defense (34.3) and scoring (54.2 points). Their strength has been on the defensive end.
"It's really going to be a battle. It always is down there," said Sanchez.
Wednesday's game at NMSU will be Lobo Deeva Vaughn's first look at the Aggies. She sat out the first meeting with a head injury.
"I'm really nervous," said the Highland High product. "It's an exciting game. It's always a game that's going to be really close and really entertaining for everybody to watch."
The rivalry game has taken a couple of dramatic turns over the years. NMSU ran off 16 straight wins over the Lobos from 1985 to 1995. UNM took over with a 22-game win streak that lasted until 2007. The Lobos are still in control winning 30 of the last 31 games. UNM leads the series 43-26.
NMSU's Wampler showed her dual threat - and value to NMSU - in the Aggies' season opener vs. Houston. Wampler had 21 points and 18 boards. She played only 15 minutes at UNM, but averages 28.1 minutes on the season.
NEW MEXICO LOBOS 2011-12 ROSTER/STATS
|Probable Starters||HT||Position||Season Statistics|
|12 - Nikki Nelson||5-5||Guard||3.9 Pts. - 2.4 Asts.|
|14 - Jourdan Erskine||6-0||Post||5.8 Pts. -- 7.1 Rebs.|
|24 - Caroline Durbin||6-0||Guard||15.2 Pts. - 4.6 Rebs.|
|23 - Porche Torrance||6-1||Wing||10.3 Pts. - 8.4 Rebs.|
|21 - Jayme Jackson||5-7||Guard||6.6 Pts. - 1.7 Asts..|
|The NM Bench||HT||Position||Season Statistics|
|11 - Lauren Taylor||6-0||Guard||6.3 Pts. - 1.4 Rebs.|
|35 - Chinyere Nnaji||6-0||Post||2.1 Pts. - 3.8 Rebs.|
|43 - Emily Stark||6-5||Post||1.1 Pts. - 1.0 Rebs.|
|44 - Deeva Vaughn||6-0||Wing||4.1 Pts. - 3.7 Rebs.|
|33 - Maddie Muraida||6-2||Post||0.7 Pts. - 1.0 Rebs.|
|25 - Ashley Rhoades||6-2||Post||0.0 Pts. - 2.0 Rebs.|
|41 - Jaime Parker||5-9||Wing||1.0 Pts. -- 0.3 Rebs.|