Stevens: Nevada Is a Good Place To Start a Lobo Charge
Feb. 1, 2013
New Mexico Women's Basketball - On The Mountain West Road - At Reno
Saturday: 5 p.m. (MT), New Mexico (10-9, 2-4 MW) at Nevada (6-13, 1-5 MW)
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
In the New Mexico Lobos' quest to join the top teams in The Mountain, there is at least one thing the Lobos have to do - stomp on the bottom teams.
They get their chance Saturday in Reno, Nev.
"We want to get ourselves back in a position to be in the top half," said Sanchez, whose Lobos are 2-4 in the Mountain run. "We have ten conference games left, but it will slip away quickly, if you continue to go, `Now, we have nine, now eight.'"
What Sanchez is saying is that her Lobos need to make a charge. The clock is spinning - tick tock, tick tock. Reno is a good place to start. The Wolfpack is 1-5 in the Mountain and 6-13 overall. They lost 92-41 at Wyoming. They are beatable, and on a five-game losing skid. '
But you have to do a few things in order to bring this Pack down.
One thing you have to do is keep the Wolfpack off the boards. Nevada has some flip-flop numbers here. They are the No. 1 rebounding team in the conference on the offensive end and dead last (No. 9) on the defensive end.
That means they get a lot of rebounds and give up a lot of rebounds. Consequently, they are minus 1.4 boards in rebounding margin. They pull down 42.2 a game. They give up 43.6 a game. They are a good rebounding team. They are a bad rebounding team.
"We have to rebound. We have to rebound on both ends," said Sanchez.
What the Wolfpack likes to do is get down the court quickly, throw up a shot, and go get it. They top the Mountain in offensive rebounds with 16.5 a game. They obviously crash the boards better than they block out on the defensive side.
"They want to put shots up in transition and it doesn't matter what shot they put up because they all crash the rebound," said Sanchez. "They all go to the boards. For us, we have to box out, give them one-and-done, and just focus on the other end."
The Wolfpack offensive/defensive stats reflect the same attitude as the Nevada board stats. There seems to be more fire at one end of the court. The Pack averages 64.2 points on offense, ahead of UNM's 58.2. However, Nevada is last in scoring defense giving up 71.4 points a game. New Mexico yields 59.0 points.
The Wolfpack can beat you on offense, but if their offense isn't clicking, they don't have a strong defense to fall back on. They are trying to change this - trying to get a MW win over someone other than Air Force.
Depending on how you look at stats, the Nevada offensive rebounding numbers could be misleading. They shoot only .351 percent from the floor and a chilly .278 from long range. There are a lot of Nevada shots that turn into rebounds.
The Wolfpack does have some talent. Chanelle Brennan, a 5-11 guard, averages 13.9 points and Danika Sharp, a 5-9 guard, averages 13.6. It's a nice duo up front.
"They have a couple of shooters," said Sanchez of Brennan and Sharp. "Those two on the outside do a nice job of driving to the basket and they can hit the three. They are always active."
Sharp is shooting .315 from the floor and has launched 117 times from long range. She is a tad better from there at .316 percent. Brennan shoots .404 percent and .313 from long range. The Wolfpack is not consistent from behind the line - one game in the last ten over .300 -- but they are streaky.
They also have a big kid - 6-foot-7 Mimi Mungedi, but she averages only 3.6 boards and 11.9 minutes. "She is still a little bit raw, but she is still 6-7," said Sanchez. "We'll have to battle her and we'll have to make sure she works hard on both ends."
The Pack runs better without Mungedi and this Pack likes to run behind Brennan, Sharp and point guard Arielle Wideman, who has 70 assists and 38 steals in 19 games. Nevada could use a good inside effort from Emily Burns, a 6-foot forward.
"They are a very good transition basketball team," said Sanchez. "They play extremely hard. They put up shots quickly. It's a contrast (from Wyoming). Nevada is very quick."
The Lobos are coming off a 72-54 loss to Wyoming which followed a 63-39 loss to San Diego State. Both those losses were slapped on in The Pit, so UNM needs to pick up some road wins. And they can't afford to lose to a Nevada team that also has dropped two home games. Reno is a place that yields wins.
"It's been tough. The two losses have been tough," said Sanchez. "It starts for us on defense and we have to start now. We are allowing too many points and we are fouling too much. We are going to get things done on the defensive end.
"Nobody is hanging their head. No one is calling the season a wash. It's still too young. You can't hang your head. You have to learn from losses. You have to learn from mistakes. If you hang your head, you'll check out. You'll be done."
NEW MEXICO LOBOS 2012-13 ROSTER/STATS