Stevens: Lobos To Host Run-And-Gun Utah State
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/28/2014

New Mexico Lobos Women’s Mountain West Basketball – In The Pit

When/Who: 7 p.m. (MT), Wednesday; Utah State (8-10, 2-5MW) at New Mexico (7-11, 2-5)

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

Ticket Special: Junior Lobos Night - Free admission with Junior Lobos ID Card with $2 tickets for those accompanying Junior Lobos (up to four).

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

The two teams step into The Pit on a scavenger hunt of sorts, both searching for the same prize that has eluded them more than they have found it – especially lately.

A victory.

“They are a lot like us. They are searching for wins and they are searching for answers,” said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez of the Utah State team that visits University Arena 7 p.m., Wednesday night.

The Lobos have failed four straight times in their quest for a win and the Utah State Aggies have failed five consecutive times.  A streak will end Wednesday for one of these Mountain West teams that both carry 2-5 league records into the fray.

“We’ve had some disappointing losses,” said Sanchez.  “But we are concentrating on getting better. That’s where our focus is.  You go out and work hard and good things happen.”

Said Lobo senior Sara Halasz: “If we stay together and keep our energy high, click, things will start coming together. You have to keep a positive attitude.  Don’t let that funk get you.”

The Lobos work ethic shouldn’t be questioned.  But often the difference between winning and losing comes at the game’s end when teams and players make plays – or don’t make plays.  For the past nine games, the Lobos and the Aggies have let the other teams make the plays.

One area Sanchez would like to see improvement is on the defensive end. “We have to close out (games) defensively,” she said. “We have to get tougher.  We can’t miss assignments and we’ve got to make sure we get stops.”

Getting stops is a key to beating Utah State.  These Aggies like to shoot and they like to score.  The Aggies top the Mountain with their 79.2 average and hit .416 percent of their shots.  The Lobos score at a 60.6 clip, shooting at a .387 clip. Tempo should be a key.

“We have to slow them down,” said Sanchez. “They are a team that will run in transition. But they are giving up a lot of points as well.  We’ll have our opportunities to get the ball in the basket.”

Utah State gives up 75.1 points per game to 65.0 for the Lobos.  The Aggie defense yields field goals at a .399 percentage and UNM’s opponents shoot 42 percent.  To simplify the Aggies’ strategy on offense, they want to get into a shooting match expecting that they will outshoot you.

The Aggies actually do a lot of things well. They top the Mountain in steals, assists and turnover margin. They average 16.5 turnovers a game but produce 20.6 per game from the opposing team.  The Lobos have been hurt several times this season by turnovers, averaging 16.2 a game.

If the Lobos run with the Aggies, the Lobos need to be clean with the ball.  Utah State is No. 3 in the MW in offensive boards at 15.1 per game just behind the Lobos’ average of 15.6.

The Aggies will bring in one player who should be fun to watch, but maybe not in a positive way.  The Aggies also will bring in a player, who might get a nice ovation before things turn serious – Stephanie Bairstow, sister of Cameron Bairstow.

The other Aggie could be a thorn in UNM’s defensive side.  Jennifer Schlott tops the Mountain West in scoring with a 23.9 average.  “They have a really nice player in Jennifer Schlott, who knows how to score,” said Sanchez. “She has a nice pull-up (jumper) and she finds her teammates.” Schlott is No. 1 in the MW in assists.

One factor in the Aggie’s five-game skid is the loss of Makenlee Williams to a foot injury.  The talented guard had been averaging 18 points a game.  That’s a huge loss.  The Aggies have seven players averaging 3.6 boards or higher, a stat obviously helped by creating a run-and-gun tempo.

Utah State obviously can still score, but without Williams they have to do some other fundamental things well – rebound and play defense without fouling.  Schlott is No. 3 in the MW in steals and teammate Elise Nelson is No. 1.

A stat that has hurt the Lobos is accuracy from long range.  UNM is last in the MW in 3-point percentage at .277.

“That’s hurt us a little bit,” said Sanchez of UNM’s not having a go-to 3-point shooter. “We’ve missed that part of the game, but that means you have to compensate somewhere else. We have to get the ball inside. We have to get to the free-throw line

“We have an 11-game season left and that’s what we are looking at. But Utah State is going to come in and say, “We want a road win.”

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)