November 22, 2014

Up next: The New Mexico Lobos

The Cardinal are away on their first road trip next week. They'll be in the Pit in Albuquerque at 6:00 on Monday to play the New Mexico Lobos.

The game won't be televised, but it will be streamed live by the Mountain West Conference and broadcast by KZSU. Live stats will be shown here.

The Lobos came to Maples last year and six years ago, but the Cardinal haven't played in the Pit since 2007.

I went to that game and remember it well — primarily for the Lobos' awesome fan support. The Pit (a below ground level arena) was filled with almost 9,000 incredibly supportive fans. They greeted every Lobo point with thunderous cheers. They all boo-ed every foul called against the Lobos, not just the questionable ones. And when they weren't cheering or booing, they howled.

The Lobos were in the top tier of the Mountain West Conference (MWC) for many seasons under 17-year head coach Don Flanagan, during which they won six Mountain West Conference titles and made eight appearances in the NCAA Women's basketball tournament. He retired in 2011 and Yvonne Sanchez, his assistant for eleven years, took over.

The Lobos have been hard-hit by serious injuries the past three seasons and have dropped down in the conference standings. They went 11-19 last season and stood #9 (of 11) in the MWC. They've been picked to finish ninth again this season.

But, win or lose, the Lobos' devoted fans have stuck with them. The average attendance at The Pit for the past three seasons has been just over 6,000 per game. The Lobos ranked 12th in the nation in home attendance last season.

The game on Monday may be a sell-out for a couple of reasons — it will be the Lobos' first home game of the season, and it's being featured as a game against the #1 team in the nation (read more in Cardinal to bring spotlight, No. 1 ranking to the Pit).

The Lobos will be happy to be back home. They had a very tough start this season at the Maggie Dixon Classic in Chicago, where they lost three games — to No. 5 Texas A&M, to No. 18 DePaul and to UTPA (University of Texas Pan-American).

The starters in each of the Lobos' first three games were:

  • #13, 6'0" junior forward Khadijah Shumpert is a strong, physical presence in the paint on both ends and ls co-leader of the team in scoring with 12.7 points per game. She was named to the Maggie Dixon Classic all-tournament lteam last week.

  • #15, 5'10" redshirt senior guard Antiesha Brown makes the game look easy even though she is one of the hardest-working players on the team. She started in all 30 games last season and was the top scorer with 14.3 points per game. She, like Shumpert, has averaged 12.7 points per game this season.

  • #12, 5'4" junior guard Bryce Owens is a quick, durable point guard who displays a good burst to the basket on drives ... and also likes to take the long shots. She led the team in 3-pointers last season — taking half of her shots from beyond the arc and making 32% of them.

  • #0, 5'10" freshman guard Cherise Beynon is a sharp-shooter with a nose for defense, who should earn considerable playing time her first year. Her averages thus far are 22 minutes, 6.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.

  • #03, 5'11" sophomore forward Josie Greenwood is a fundamentally sound player who does the little things right for the Lobos. She's averaged 2.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.

Here are New Mexico's 2014-15 statistics and roster.

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