New Mexico Lobos Women’s Basketball – Bob King Floor – The Pit
Tuesday: New Mexico 85, Western New Mexico 47.
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
“In order for us to wear teams down, our bench play has to be there,” said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez.
On Tuesday night in The Pit, it was there.
The balance was impressive – five Lobos in double figures with two of those Lobos coming off the bench in Ebony Walker (16) and Brea Mitchell with 10. Sanchez’s bench scored 35 points in New Mexico’s 85-47 exhibition roll over Western New Mexico.
“Good effort. Really pleased,” said Sanchez. “We really cleaned up some things. We had 44 points in the paint and 35 bench points. I’m really pleased with the effort.
“Our game plan was to get it inside first and then look outside. There is nothing that stands out to me that I can nitpick.”
Of course, you have to factor in the competition given in an exhibition romp, but there were a lot of things that Coach Sanchez liked on her Lobos’ final stat sheet.
She got 30 points from the inside combination of Walker and Khadijah Shumpert, who had 14 points and 10 boards. Her wing combination of Sara Halasz and Antiesha Brown combined for 23 points and nine boards. “She feels good,” Sanchez said of Halasz, who missed two seasons with knee injuries.
The Lobos shot 50 percent from the floor (33-of-66) and won the board battle 47-30. The Lobos had 10 steals and only 16 turnovers. They went 4-of-9 from trey range and went 15-of-21 from the free-throw line.
“All the things we have been working on in practice, happened tonight,” said Shumpert.
Walker and Shumpert – expected to be a vital charge in Yvonne Sanchez’s 2013-14 season -- had nice shooting lines. Walker went 7-of-11 and Shumpert went 5-of-10.
“I just came out and played my hardest and played aggressive,” said Walker. “This game I took my time and was patient.”
Brea Mitchell went 5-of-7 from the floor to score her 10 points. She also hauled down seven boards, added two assists and two steals. Vaughn went 2-of-2 from 3-point range to score eight points.
"Brea has done an incredible job from summer until now to really understand what I want, what we want as a staff, and understanding how good of a player she is," said Sanchez. "She’s a very nice shooter, she’ll get better at the defensive end, but she’s a good player and we’re going to have to rely on her."
The Lobos were patient, too. They fell into a surprising 13-12 hole before upping the intensity at both ends of the court. UNM ran to an 18-point halftime lead at 41-23 that pretty much sealed the win. When you have advantages at every position and are playing in The Pit, an 18-point lead is a mountain. It was mountain the Mustangs continued to slide down.
At the 11:31 mark of the second half, UNM had pushed its lead to 62-33 on another post move by Walker. It was 81-40 with 4:30 to play. The Lobos cruised to the 85-47exhibition win.
"So, I do think we are ready now. It’s a great opponent (on Saturday)," Sanchez said of Saturday's 3 p.m. tip with Loyola Marymount. "Loyola is going to come in here well-coached.
"They beat us at the buzzer the last time they came down the ramp of The Pit. I remember that dearly, so that’s a good team, a well-coached team, and they are going to be ready to play here.”
First Half: New Mexico 41, Western New Mexico 23
It wasn’t exactly the start Coach Sanchez wanted mostly because of a few defensive mistakes including two drives through the heart of the Lobo defense that ended with Western layups.
At 10-8 Sanchez burned a timeout after watching the second uncontested layup. The Mustangs grabbed a 13-12 lead on a trey, but Ebony Walker powered in for a layup to put UNM up 15-13 at the 12:31 mark. When Walker scored again to push the Lobos up 17-13 with 11:44 to go in the half, it was Western’s turn to burn a timeout.
Walker scored inside on a follow to make it 19-15 in UNM’s favor. Western’s Stephanie Moore put on a nice post move and added a free throw to pull the Mustangs to 19-8.
UNM then went on a run sparked by a baseline trey by Deeva Vaughn off a Walker pass. The Lobos carried a 26-18 lead into the 7:10 break. UNM was shooting 44 percent at that mark and Western was at 42.1 percent. The Mustangs were 1-of-9 from long range. The Lobos were playing better defense.
At the 3:55 stop, UNM carried a 30-21 lead into its huddle off buckets by Walker and Owens. Halasz pushed UNM to 32-21 off two free throws at 2:56. UNM’s Alexa Chavez scored inside followed by a Mitchell bucket to hand UNM a 38-23 lead.
The Lobos had slowly pulled into a comfortable 15-point lead. Brooke Allemand ended UNM’s scoring with a trey and UNM ran up The Pit’s ramp with a 41-23 lead.