Feb. 27, 2009
Saturday: Lobos vs. Colorado State
When/Where: 2:05 p.m. -- The Pit
Radio: 610-AM KNML
Online: GameTracker on GoLobos.com
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
New Mexico coach Don Flanagan doesn't have a problem with the top part of the committee he hopes will put points on the scoreboard for the Lobos. Junior Amy Beggin has been as consistent as taxes and senior Angela Hartill has had a few lows, but she has reached double figures in 16 of UNM's 26 games.
But the rest of the committee needs to find the scoreboard. Amanda Adamson hasn't hit double figures in seven games. Eileen Weissmann has hit double figures once in the past 12 games. Amanda Best hasn't doubled in nine games. Sara Halasz has hit double digits once in 11 games. Not good.
"I don't want to name names," said Flanagan. "But there are a lot of players who I think should be scoring more, shooting a higher percentage, hitting free throws a little better."
There definitely is some scoring talent on the UNM team beyond Beggin and Hartill. Adamson once scored 18. Best once scored 15. Halasz scored 13 points. Weissmann hit 14 earlier this season.
And some of the Lobos who don't see as many minutes on the court have had nice numbers in the scoring column, too: Valerie Kast 18, Georonika Jackson 23, Nikki Nelson 10, Lauren Taylor 11, Jessica Kielpinski 11.
Flanagan and the Lobos just need a couple of those Lobo committee members to step it up for the stretch run of the Mountain West season which includes the MWC tourney in Las Vegas on March 10-14.
"I think some of it is a confidence issue," said Beggin. "They miss a couple of shots and they show a reluctance to shoot. It's always nice when someone else can pick up the scoring load. It just feels like we play a lot better when we have a third or fourth person scoring."
The Lobos have lost two straight and only Beggin and Hartill reached double figures in those losses at San Diego State and at TCU. Go back to UNM's previous two losses and at UNLV there were only two Lobos in double figures and at Wyoming there was only Beggin. Go back one more loss, 53-50 to Utah in The Pit, and only Hartill and Beggin reached double figures.
"Defensively, we're there," said Flanagan. "Offensively, we're not. So, we have to do some things offensively and that's our focus, to get the ball inside a little more and be more patient with our offense and our shot selection."
The Lobos need a feel-good game again and you can't help but look at Colorado State's visit Saturday and expect the Lobos to have a good offensive night. UNM beat CSU 76-68 in Fort Collins, Colo., on Jan. 28 with -- well, only two Lobos reaching double figures in Beggin with 22 and Adamson with 10. But the UNM scoring column also showed players scoring 9, 7, 8, and 7.
Flanagan said he'd be happy with several Lobos approaching the double-figure region. At TCU, the UNM bench scored no points.
This scoring hole might not be a cause for concern in The Pit vs. CSU, but if the Lobos get into crunch time, the opposing team knows pretty much who will get the ball: first choice, Beggin; second choice, Hartill. Third choice? Back to Beggin?
"They know it's either Angela or Amy," said Flanagan. "Our other players are not scoring much, so it's difficult to give them the ball late in the game. We just have to do a better job with our players getting some scoring."
The Lobos take a 18-8 overall and 7-6 MWC mark into the CSU game. Utah at 11-2 is trying to hold off 11-3 TCU and 10-3 San Diego State for the 2009 regular-season crown. The Lobos are battling 7-6 BYU and 6-7 Wyoming for the No. 4 seed in the MWC tourney.
"I think every game is going to be a big game for us," said Hartill. "We're playing for fourth place. We want to get as good a seed as we can get."
Said Flanagan: "What we're trying to do is get back to playing well. We have to get that confidence back. We feel it's our time to get back to playing well."
It's also the Lobos' place to get back to playing well -- The Pit. "I'm hoping we play more aggressively and get some confidence," Flanagan said of playing CSU in The Pit. "All we need is some confidence to turn this team around."
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