Stevens: Lobos Look To Snap Road Skid in Key MW Game at CSU
Jan. 21, 2013
New Mexico Lobos Women Basketball - Mountain West - At Colorado State
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (MT), New Mexico Lobos (9-7, 1-2 MW) at CSU Rams (5-11, 1-2)
GoLobos.com: GameTracker, Game Story, Statistics
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
After the 63-50 loss at UNLV, Colorado State Coach Ryun Williams said: "We've got to score more than 50 points. We have to."
You can bet a New Mexico Lobos team that has leaned on good defense all year is figuring to hold those Rams near that 50-point mark on Wednesday when the Lobos look to snap a four-game road losing skid in a key Mountain West game in Fort Collins, Colo.
Of course, something has to give in Fort Collins. Consider:
So, does the first team to 60 win? Or does the first team to the 20-turnover mark lose?
"Colorado State is a very good team. They're very well coached," said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez of the Rams. "They're a lot like us last year in that they're a little beat up. But they are very, very dangerous."
There are several reasons the Lobos and the Rams can struggle offensively, but taking care of the rock is major for both teams. UNM is averaging 19.4 turnovers on the season and CSU is at 15.9. The Lobos have averaged 19.9 turnovers in their past eight games and CSU is coming off a season-high 23 miscues in the loss at UNLV.
To state the obvious: When you turn the ball over, you lose a shot at the scoreboard. Let's say you are shooting 50 percent in a game and have 20 turnovers. That loosely translates into losing 20 points on the board (two points times 10 makes). That could be the difference in winning 70-60 or losing 60-50. Yeah, those miscues hurt.
The Rams and the Lobos have a lot of statistical similarities, but one thing is certain on Wednesday in Moby Arena: It's a home game the Rams need to win and a road game that is just as important for UNM. And there is a big difference in being 1-3 or 2-2, which is the fate awaiting the winner and the loser of this game.
The Rams and the Lobos are two Mountain West teams that didn't charge out of the MW gate and have some catching up to do with their 1-2 league marks. And neither team can afford to fall too far behind as San Diego State (3-1) and Fresno State (3-1) try to establish themselves as the class of the Mountain.
"There is not a clear cut favorite," said Sanchez. "But San Diego State and Fresno State, in my opinion, are the two best teams. But I like where our team is at. I like where our team head is at right now."
The Lobos have their obvious defensive targets at CSU. The Rams are paced by freshman guard Caitlin Duffy, who is averaging 11.6 points on the year and 15.0 in her three Mountain West games. The 6-foot-2 Sam Martin can be tough inside with her 11.7 overall average bolstered by a 6.3 rebounding average.
Either Martin or Duffy have paced CSU in scoring in the past 11 games. You have to target these two Rams. A key for a CSU win - and a Lobo win - is whether the scoring leaders get some help.
CSU's Taylor Varsho has scored 19 in a game this season, Amber Makeever has scored 15 points and Kara Spotton has a 16-point game. Meghan Heimstra scored 12 for CSU at Vegas.
Who will step up against the Lobos?
UNM held Boise State to 22.5 percent shooting in the second half and held Bronco star Lauren Lenhardt to 1-of-9 shooting in the final 20 minutes. The Lobos can be ornery on defense.
The Lobos are led by Caroline Durbin with her 12.6 average, but there are several Lobos with the ability to help out on the scoreboard. Texas Tech transfer Antiesha Brown is knocking rust off her game every week and has moved into the No. 3 spot on the UNM scoring chart with her 9.7 average. She scored 16 vs. Boise.
Whitney Johnson had 14 points vs. Boise State. Bryce Owens, Deeva Vaughn and Sara Halasz are proven scorers with the ability to explode with points. There have been nine Lobos this season who have reached double figures in at least one game.
Who will step up against the Rams?
This is another team the Lobos match up with physically. The Rams have 11 players between 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-2, but no players taller than 6-foot-2. Seven of the Lobos top eight scorers stand between 5-10 and 6-2. UNM's Vaughn set out the Boise State game with a foot injury, but Sanchez said Vaughn should play at CSU.
The Lobos probably have an edge on the boards where they out-rebound teams by plus 5.9 a game. CSU is at minus 5.2 boards. If the game is close down the stretch and the free-throw line becomes a factor, CSU averages 74 percent at the stripe and UNM shoots 60 percent.
NEW MEXICO LOBOS 2012-13 ROSTER/STATS