Owens on defense
Owens on defense
Stevens: Lobos To Pack The Pit For Tough Bulldogs
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/17/2014

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Basketball – In The Pit

When/Who: 2 p.m. (MT), Saturday – Fresno State (10-6, 4-1) at New Mexico (7-8, 2-2)

On The Air: 610-AM with Joe Behrend and Nikki Heckroth-Lobato. (Pit’s frequency: 89.5 FM)

GoLobos.com: Game Story, LoboTV, Stats, Quotes

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

The Fresno State Bulldogs’ women’s team is in a situation similar to the New Mexico men.  The Bulldogs gave up an unexpected one at home and look to the road to try and grab a Mountain West breakthrough win.

The Bulldogs are looking at Yvonne Sanchez’s Lobos, who have yet to drop a league game in The Pit.  It’s also Pack The Pit Day on Saturday.

“It’s like my second baby, my second home, if you will,” said Lobo Deeva Vaughn. “That’s something you just allow people to do (win in The Pit).”

The Bulldogs are a tough chew anywhere, but one score that grabs you is Fresno’s 79-63 win at UNLV. The Lobos are coming off a 78-56 loss at UNLV.  The Bulldogs were 4-0 before San Diego State blemished the ‘Dogs record with a 70-69 shocker in Fresno..

“They have guards. They have posts. They have shooters. They play smart. They shoot the ball well,” said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez. “They run in transition, but if they don’t have anything, they’ll run their offense.

“They are a tough team to play and guard.  We have to do a better job than we did the other night (at UNLV).”

Fresno State is atop the Mountain at 4-1 along with Colorado State, which fell by 10 points to the Bulldogs in Fresno. The Lobos are one of four MW teams carrying two losses.  Wyoming (2-1) is the fourth league team with a single loss in league play. UNLV is 3-1.

The Lobos already have lost to Rams and Rebels and need to avoid a Pit fall to Fresno State.  There are ways to avoid drifting away from the top of the standings and not losing to teams above you is one of the better ways.  Fresno State is the defending MW tourney champ and the MW’s preseason pick for the 2014 regular-season crown.

“Fresno is a great team to come back and try to prove something after that tough loss to UNLV,” said UNM’s Brooke Allemand.

There is no payback opportunity for either team, unless they meet in Vegas at the MW Tournament.  UNM and Fresno play only once in the MW regular season this year.

“This is a very important game considering we are only playing them one time,” said Vaughn.

Said Coach Sanchez: “You have to win at home. It would be a good game to get, knowing we don’t go back up to Fresno.”

A key for the Lobos on Saturday is slowing down Bulldog senior guard Taylor Thompson, who tops Fresno in scoring (13.3), assists and minutes played.  She stirs the Fresno offense with penetration and 3-balls.

Thompson gets scoring help from Alex Sheedy (12.4) and Bree Farley (11.1).  Farley has the top percentage from 3-point range in the league at .456 and Thompson is No. 6 at .388 percent. The Bulldogs also get treys from Moriah Faulk and Robin Draper.

If the game is close at the end, you want to keep Thompson and her 85 percent shooting off the line.  Thompson is No. 6 in the MW in assists per game (4.1), so she usually is handling the rock.  The Bulldogs have an inside presence in 6-foot-6 Jacinta Vandenberg, who is more of a shot blocker than a scorer.

The ‘Dogs shot 6-of-27 in the second half against SDSU and 36.4 percent overall which is the first time Fresno shot under 40 percent in a MW game.

The ‘Dogs can shoot, but they also like to play defense.  Fresno State is seventh in the 11-team league in scoring (69.5), but their 61.7 point defensive yield is No. 1 a spot of ahead of UNM (63.9).

The ‘Dogs also are No. 1 in the league in 3-point shooting at .351 percent.  “I told our kids they are going to hit some threes, so don’t get down,” said Sanchez.

Fresno State will be challenged on the edge by the UNM defense which tops the MW in 3-point defense with a .285 percent yield.  Fresno is No. 2 at .298 percent.

It’s always fun having Pack The Pit,” said Sanchez. “Fans always come out and support these young ladies.  We’re going to need everybody.  We’re going to need all our players on the court and that Sixth Man.

 “We have done well getting the first two at home.  This is a difficult challenge, but hopefully we’ll get this one, too.”

New Mexico Lobos Women's 2013-2014 Season Roster 

No. Sort by Number
Name Sort by Name
Pos. Sort by Position
Ht. Sort by Height
Yr. Sort by Eligibility Year
Exp. Sort by Years Experience
Hometown (Prev School)
1   Brooke Allemand G 5-4 Fr. HS Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas (Boerne-Samuel V. Champion HS)
3   Josie Greenwood F 5-11 Fr. HS Hobart, Australia (Rosny College)
4   Alex Lapeyrolerie G 5-11 Fr. HS Highland Village, Texas (Edward S. Marcus HS)
11   Alexa Chavez F 6-0 So. 1L Santa Fe, N.M. (St. Michael's HS)
12   Bryce Owens G 5-4 So. 1L DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto HS)
13   Khadijah Shumpert F 6-0 So. 1L Minneapolis, Minn. (Benilde St. Margaret's HS)
15   Antiesha Brown G 5-10 RJr. 1L Clovis, N.M. (Texas Tech)
20   Sara Halasz G 5-11 RSr. 3L Ohatchee, Ala. (Lakes (Wash.) HS)
21   Marissa Perry G 5-4 Fr. HS Albuquerque, N.M. (Hope Christian HS)
25   Brea Mitchell G 5-10 So. 1L Plano, Texas (Plano West HS)
30   Lauren Newman F 6-1 Fr. HS El Paso, Texas (El Dorado HS)
32   Kianna Keller F 6-4 Fr. HS Waukesha, Wisc. (Waukesha West HS)
33   Maddie Muraida C 6-2 Jr. 2L Albuquerque, N.M. (Albuquerque Academy)
34   Whitney Johnson C 6-2 RSo. 1L Highland, Utah (Lone Peak HS)
42   Ebony Walker C 6-2 RJr. RS Albuquerque, N.M. (Texas Tech)
44   Deeva Vaughn F 6-0 RSr. 1L Albuquerque, N.M. (Northern Oklahoma - Enid)