Stevens: Lobos Face A Wyoming Team With Good Sewell & Better Stats
Jan. 29, 2013
New Mexico Women Basketball - Mountain West - In The Pit
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (MT), Wyoming (15-4, 4-2 MW) at New Mexico (10-8, 2-3 MW)
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
In considering what the Wyoming Cowgirls bring into The Pit, maybe there are two things you don't really want to look at:
Sewell is a beast and so are the Wyoming team numbers. This is the stuff nighmares are made of.
"Sewell in the post is very good," said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez. "They'll win with her getting four or six points and they'll win with her getting 30 points. She is the best rebounder in the conference. She is really important."
Sewell is a strong candidate for Mountain West Player of The Year. She is No. 7 in MW scoring with a 14.5 average, No. 1 in boards at 9.1, and the league's top shooter with a .427 percentage.
"We have played against each other for a while. She is just tough," said UNM senior, Jourdan Erskine.
Sewell is good and another thing that makes her good is the strong Wyoming supporting cast. The Cowgirls get double figures from Kayla Woodward (14.3), Kaitlyn Mileto (12.7) and Ashley Sickles (11.3).
You double down on Sewell on defense and she will find an open Wyoming gun. You don't provide help and she is a load.
"You can't key on one or two people on them. They are so good in what they do," said Sanchez.
Which brings us to those scary Wyoming team stats. If you just looked at the MW numbers, you might figure that Wyoming is running away with the race, instead of pulling into The Pit with a 4-2 mark. Consider:
What this means is that the Cowgirls like to beat on you at both ends of the court. That's a wise move. They also hit the glass and are No. 1 in rebounding margin at plus 8.4 boards per game. They are No. 1 in assists-to-turnover ratio (1.1).
There really isn't much these Cowgirls don't do well. If you are looking at the stats for a weakness, it might be in 3-point defense where they sit in the No. 7 spot (.326) and in steals, where they are dead last at No. 9.
But this also means the Cowgirls are willing to give up a few bombs and don't gamble too much on defense. This helps them keep their defensive shape and prevents teams from finding too many open holes in close. That can be a wise move, too: Don't allow your defense to break down by over-extending it; force teams to hit the long shot.
The problem for the Cowgirls in The Pit is that the Lobos have an exceptional long range gunner in Caroline Durbin, who tops the Mountain in 3-point percentage at .435. Wyoming has three players shooting higher than 33 percent from long range. That makes it tough to zone the Cowgirls.
"The right people take the right shots and they do a tremendous job in transition," said Sanchez. " They are very patient and they are very smart. They don't take bad shots. They don't make dumb mistakes. They find each other very well.
"They can win in the 70s. They can win in the 40s. If we give them nothing in transition, they'll take the whole clock and run offense. They won't get impatient."
A key for UNM against Wyoming is to figure out ways to get around all the Cowgirl screens. If you get beat by a pick, you need to let a teammate know about it. "If we don't talk, it will be a long night for us," said Durbin.
The Lobos had a long day against San Diego State and fell to 2-3 in league play. The front runners are SDSU and Fresno State at 5-1 and Wyoming at 4-2. Those teams appear to be the class of the league, but Wyoming did fall at Boise State and Boise State fell in The Pit 58-53.
Wyoming appears to be a beatable team as long as you kind of ignore two things: Sewell and all those telling Wyoming stats.
NEW MEXICO LOBOS 2012-13 ROSTER/STATS