Stevens: Lobos Need To Cut Down on Turnovers vs. Quick TCU Frogs
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/27/2012
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Jan. 27, 2012

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New Mexico Lobos Women's Basketball - On The Mountain West Road

Saturday: 11 a.m. (MT), New Mexico Lobos at TCU Horned Frogs
On The Air: 610-AM KNML
GoLobos.com: Game Story, Stats

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

The good news for a New Mexico Lobos' team (6-13, 0-5) looking for its first Mountain West win of 2012 is that the TCU Horned Frogs don't appear to be quite as good as the Frogs of a year ago.

The bad news is the Frogs (10-10, 3-2 MW) are still pretty good, still pretty athletic and still pretty ornery when it comes to defending the home.

"They are playing well, especially at home," said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez. "They are athletic and we'll have our hands full. They like to pressure the ball and we still are having way too much trouble with turnovers."

The Lobos are coming off a 22-turnover night in Fort Collins that helped push the Colorado State Rams to a 61-54 Mountain West win. It is no secret to Mountain West teams that UNM has trouble taking care of the basketball. UNM had 23 turnovers vs. Boise State, 20 vs. San Diego State, 21 vs. UNLV and 22 at Colorado State.

Sanchez calls this her team's "Achilles Heel."

So, will the Frogs decide to press UNM in Fort Worth? Probably. The Frogs are a bit short in the height department this season and use quickness and pressure to help them generate points.

TCU has beaten Boise State, Colorado State and Air Force. The Frogs lost to league bullies, San Diego State and UNLV.

The Horned Frogs aren't real fearful in the scoring department. They had one starter listed in double figures for their win at Air Force - Natalie Ventress, a 5-foot-11 freshman, who boasts an 11.9 average.

Ventress has led TCU in scoring in eight of the past 10 games. She had 18 points vs. Boise State, 23 vs. UNLV, and has paced TCU in scoring 10 times. Antoinette Thompson, a 5-7 senior, has a 9.7 average.

The Frogs aren't by nature a high-scoring team. They aren't real tall either. Their starting lineup at Air Force was 5-7, 5-7, 6-0, 5-11 and 6-2. The 6-2 Delisa Gross averages 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds, so she isn't exactly the thrust of the Frogs' attack.

But more than a few teams have adjusted their attack to go inside on the Lobos.

The Lobos aren't tall either going with a lineup of 5-5 Nikki Nelson, 5-7 Jayme Jackson, 6-1 Porche Torrance, 6-0 Chinyere Nnaji and 6-0 Caroline Durbin.

What the Frogs like to do is attack with quickness and play in-your-face defense. This they can do.

Sophomore Latricia Lovings is one Frog, who likes to play defense. She had six blocks vs. UNLV, which gaves her 65 career blocks in 41 games. Only a sophomore, she has moved past Helena Sverrisdottir into the No. 4 career spot at TCU.

A key to this game might be for the Lobos to damage the Frogs' confidence early. TCU is 1-9 this season when trailing at the half. They are 9-1 with a halftime lead.

Obviously, the Frogs don't have a high-powered game inside when it comes to height. Still, the Frogs will attack the rim off the dribble. They also like to shoot from outside. TCU hit 12 3-pointers against Colorado State.

The Lobos had trouble handling the ball and stopping the CSU inside game, but the Lobos did have some bright spots during the game.

UNM shot 50 percent from long range (9-of-18). This is an important part of the court for the Lobos since their inside game has been hurt with the loss of forward Deeva Vaughn and with Jourdan Erskine still trying to come back from a stress fracture.

The Lobos need to shoot well from the perimeter and the Horned Frogs' forte might be their defense on the edge. TCU has held seven opponents to under 20 percent from 3-point range, including Air Force which shot 12.5 percent. TCU is 19-1 over the past three seasons when holding its opponent to under 20 percent shooting from long range. The Frogs are 7-0 this season riding that stat.

TCU traditionally relies on defensive quickness and pressure and that's been the Frogs' storyline this season, too. TCU has held eight opponents to under 30 percent shooting. Air Force shot 28.3 percent.

The Falcons, obviously struggling through a tough season, had trouble with TCU's pressure. The Frogs forced Air Force into 29 turnovers. TCU has forced teams into 20-plus turnovers in seven of their past 14 games.

A key for UNM Saturday would be to have fewer than 20 turnovers and shoot better than 35 percent from the field.

The Lobos are two games away from the halfway mark of the Mountain West race with games against TCU and Air Force. If UNM falls to the Frogs, the game against Air Force will be to determine last place at the halfway mark.

Jaime Parker & Ashley Rhoades


Probable StartersHTPositionSeason Statistics
12 - Nikki Nelson5-5Guard5.0 Pts. - 2.5 Rebs.
35 - Chinyere Nnaji6-0Post2.1 Pts. - 3.6 Rebs.
24 - Caroline Durbin6-0Guard14.9 Pts. - 4.1 Rebs.
23 - Porche Torrance6-1Wing10.4 Pts. - 8.7 Rebs.
21 - Jayme Jackson5-7Guard5.7 Pts. - 2.4 Rebs.

The NM BenchHTPositionSeason Statistics
11 - Lauren Taylor6-0Guard6.9 Pts. - 1.3 Rebs.
14 - Jourdan Erskine6-2Wing5.8 Pts. - 7.1 Rebs.
43 - Emily Stark6-5Post1.4 Pts. - 1.2 Rebs.
44 - Deeva Vaughn6-0Wing6.2 Pts. - 4.3 Rebs.
41 - Jaime Parker5-9Wing1.0 Pts. -- 0.5 Rebs.
33 - Maddie Muraida6-2Post0.4 Pts. - 1.1 Rebs.
25 - Ashley Rhoades6-2Post0.7 Pts. - 1.4 Rebs.