Stevens: Lobos Look To Defend The Pit vs. Wyoming
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/07/2014

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Basketball – In The Pit

When/Who: 7 p.m. (MT), Wednesday; Wyoming (10-2, 1-0 MW) at New Mexico (5-7, 0-1 MW)

On The Air: 610-AM with Joe Behrend and Nikki Heckroth-Lobato. Live streaming on Mountain West Network

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

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

When Lobo Antiesha Brown talks about “utilizing” the New Mexico post position, it’s necessary for all Lobo guards to shake off old habits.

Otherwise, the Lobo perimeter players might be tossing the ball over to the end of the New Mexico bench.

You want Ebony Brown to touch the ball?  Toss it to the 6-2 Lobo in street clothes sitting on the bench. Ditto if you want the ball to go to Whitney Johnson, Lauren Newman – and now – Khadijah Shumpert, out of the Wyoming game with concussion-like symptoms.

Hey, if it wasn’t for bad luck, Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez might not have any.

 “Khadijah is out,” said Sanchez.  “It’s tough. We get one person back (Deeva Vaughn) and then we have another person out again.   We’ll play with what we have and who we have and go from there. That’s how it is.”

Any time is a bad time to lose Shumpert – UNM’s starting post – but with Wyoming heading into The Pit, the Lobos need all hands on deck.  The 10-2 Cowgirls  might be the best team in the Mountain West and might feature the best player in the MW in Kayla Woodward – the preseason pick for MW Player of the Year.

“She is very good,” said Coach Sanchez. “She moves without the ball. She rebounds. She shoots it. She is a 3-point shooter.  She is just an all-around player.  She is their focal point and we have to make sure we know where she is without (leaving) some of their other players.

“You can’t just triple team Woodward.”

Woodward scores at a 17.8 clip, brings down 7.1 rebounds a game, is second on the team in steals and probably hasn’t yet played to her potential – shooting 44 percent from the floor and 63 percent from the line.  However, she did burn Nevada for 26 points last week.

Wyoming also gets double figures from 6-foot guard Fallon Lewis (15.3 and 9.2 boards) and Kaitlyn Mileto (13.0).  Marquelle Dent averages 9.6 points and has 53 assists.  UNM’s Antiesha Brown leads the Lobos with a 13.3 average.

The Cowgirls can score and the Lobos have been struggling in that all-important category. Wyoming averages 74.2 points and UNM scores at a 57.5 clip.

It’s a big game for the Lobos who need to hold serve at home and it’s a big game for Wyoming because a Pit win can be a catalyst for a MW title.   It’s tough to beat Lobos in The Pit.

“You have to win at home,” said Sanchez.

The Cowgirls are similar to Colorado State in that they do a lot of things well and play at a consistent level.  Wyoming’s top four scorers are 5-foot-7 up to the 6-foot Lewis.  Jordan Sibrel is the fifth starter at 6-1 with a board average of 5.4.

The Cowgirls can bring some height off the bench in 6-4 Kaylie Rader and 6-2 Whitney Gordon, but Wyoming scores through motion and ball screens more than pure height.

“They are a veteran team,” said Sanchez. “They are going to run and set a million screens.  They see each other very well and play with each other very well.” 

Said UNM’s Brown: “They like to screen. They are really good at sharing the ball and moving without the ball. We are going to have to play very solid defense.”

Defense has been the Lobos’ strength so far in 2013-14.  UNM has the top scoring defense in the league yielding 62.3 points and Wyoming is close at 64.5.  The Cowgirls have the best scoring margin in the Mountain at plus 9.7 points, but Wyoming also can guard. The Cowgirls boast the league’s top field goal percentage defense at .373 percent.

A key for Wyoming is going to the line while not allowing the other team to make the same march. Wyoming has shot 286 free throws and given up 187 attempts. The Lobos have shot 171 and given up 224.

The Lobos need to add some scoring.  UNM is last in field goal percentage at .365 and last in 3-point shooting at .287. They scored 50 points at Colorado State.  It’s difficult to win games scoring 50 points. UNM has shot the fewest free throws in the Mountain (171) and is No. 9 out of 11 teams in percentage at 62 percent.

“That’s unacceptable,” said Sanchez. “We have to attack on defense and we have to attack on offense.”

Said Lobo senior Sara Halasz: “We need to get to the line more. We need to attack more and we need to be more aggressive. When we get to the line, we need to hit those free throws.”

The Lobos’ starting posts will be 6-4 freshman Kianna Keller and 6-foot walk-on Alexa Chavez.  The Cowgirls will have an experience advantage inside, but a huge key for Keller and Chavez is fighting through picks and following mobile posts into shooting positions.  And then not getting beat on backdoor cuts.  

The Cowgirls are 1-0 in league play after their 72-64 win over Nevada. Colorado State, Utah State and Fresno State top the league at 2-0. Every other MW team has at least one loss.

“It’s really nice to be back at The Pit,” said Brown. “We really need our fans to help us finish these games,” said Brown.

Brown said UNM has an advantage because of altitude, but the elevation in Laramie is around 7,100 feet. If the Cowgirls get winded, it won’t be from the thin air. 

New Mexico Lobos 2013-14 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)