Stevens: Sanchez's Lobos Looking To Sweep Boise State
Feb. 15, 2013
New Mexico Women's Basketball - Mountain West - At Boise State
Saturday: 2 p.m. (MT) - New Mexico Lobos (12-11, 4-6 MW) at Boise State (10-12, 3-6)
On The Air: 610-AM KNML with Joe Behrend
GoLobos.com: Game Story, Statistics
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez said the anger factor might have come into play when Fresno State visited The Pit.
So, are Boise State's Lauren Lenhardt and the Broncos still mad at the Lobos?
The Broncos rode into The Pit last month off a sweet 70-68 slap down of Wyoming and Lenhardt and the Broncos probably were expecting to have their way with a struggling New Mexico in The Pit.
It didn't happen.
Sanchez's strategy against Lenhardt was to throw a lot of Lobos at her, "do it by committee," and see if the rest of the Broncos could beat UNM. The rest couldn't do it.
The Lobos got 16 points from Antiesha Brown, clamped down the defense on Boise State and posted a solid 58-53 win. The Lobos shot 57.1 percent in the second half. They held Boise to 22.6 percent in the second half.
Lenhardt's shooting hand went cold as she shot 5-of-16 from the floor and finished with 13 points.
Since that loss in The Pit, the Broncos' fortunes on the basketball court have spiraled down. They sit on a four-game losing streak as they await the Lobos' visit. They have lost those four games by an average margin of 14.0 points.
"Boise State is probably going to want to come out and have a little revenge against us. We beat them here (in The Pit), and they were up at halftime of that game. It's one of the few wins we've had when we've been down at halftime and came back. They've got very good post play with Lenhardt, and she's one of the conference's best players," commented Head Coach Yvonne Sanchez after Wednesday night's game.
The Broncos need a win. So do the Lobos, riding a two-game skid and having yet to beat a MW team above them in the standings.
The Lobos might not be specifically mad at the Broncos but there is unrest in Lobo hearts after dropping back-to-back one-point games in The Pit. Sanchez has liked the fight in her Lobos, but has not been happy with ending on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
A key for UNM in The Pit win over Boise was shooting 48.9 percent from the floor which helped make up for 21 turnovers. In Boise, the turnovers need to drop because it's difficult to shoot 48 percent on the road.
Especially against an angry Boise State defense.
The Broncos' skid has been handed out by Colorado State (57-56), UNLV (75-61), San Diego State (64-40) and Wyoming (77-60). Those last three were not awful losses. Losing to CSU in Boise was not good.
Lenhardt, who was a back-to-back Mountain West Player of the Week in November, is still dangerous. She had 19 points and eight boards in Laramie. She also can struggle: five points and two boards vs. SDSU.
She also is still the Broncos' thrust on offense and her teammates will give her a lot of screens trying to find her an open shot. Lenhardt is in the top five in the Mountain in scoring (15.0) and rebounding (7.2).
However, the Lobos have a lot of statistical edges on the struggling Broncos. The Lobos shoot better from the floor (.412 to .365) and better from long range (.325 to .275). UNM has a better defensive field goal percentage (.374 to .395).
The Lobos are led in scoring by Caroline Durbin with her 11.8 average. Deeva Vaughn is close to cracking double figures with a 9.7 average. Jourdan Erskine tops the UNM rebounding charts at 5.2. Freshman Bryce Owens is one of the top assist players in the Mountain at 4.0 a game.
The Lobos' keys in Boise are obvious enough: limit turnovers, shoot well, rebound and contain Lenhardt in a quiet gym that has been averaging 824 fans.
The MW Race: The game at Boise won't influence the top portion of the MW race: SDSU (9-1), Wyoming (8-2) and Fresno State (8-2). However, the winner likely would be in sole ownership of fifth place behind UNLV (6-4). UNM, Boise State and Colorado State each have six losses and are jockeying for tournament seeding and some momentum.
MW Attendance: It might be somewhat of a surprise to find out that arguably the best team in the Mountain - San Diego State - has one of the more apathetic fan bases in the league. The Aztecs are averaging 712 fans, which is just a notch above UNLV's 702. Air Force is at the bottom at 288 and Boise draws 824 a game. The Lobos are running away with the gate race with an average draw of 6,363 followed by Wyoming at 3,424 and Fresno State at 2,463.
NEW MEXICO LOBOS 2012-13 ROSTER/STATS