The defensive side of the ball has caused problems for the New Mexico women’s basketball team, particularly in the late game.
Take UNM’s last contest at Nevada this past Saturday. The Lobos held a 73-71 lead with less than a minute remaining, but let the Wolf Pack come back to win with a 4-0 run.
The Lobos have lost eight of their last nine games overall, seven of which have been by six points or fewer.
“We’ve started strong, and then there’s times in the middle of games where we’ve been down and battled back or tied it up,” said head coach Yvonne Sanchez.
Sanchez said some of the late-game collapses have been the results of untimely calls by officials. Nevada’s last two points of the game came on free throws after UNM was called for a foul on the rebound.
“(The referees) are just calling a lot of things,” she said. “I know we’ve just tried to adjust to it, but sometimes you go, ‘Man, I don’t know if it was a bad or good call or a different call.’ They’re calling it that way … and we just haven’t been able to get stops.”
UNM’s worst loss of the last eight games was at UNLV, a 78-56 blowout in which the Lobos committed 22 turnovers.
The Lobos (8-15, 3-9) will be facing those same Lady Rebels (10-14, 7-5 MW) tonight at The Pit.
When UNM last faced UNLV, the Lobos were without forward Khadijah Shumpert, who suffered a concussion during the previous game at Colorado State.
This time, UNM will be missing another forward in Kianna Keller, who is out with a knee injury for at least another three weeks, Sanchez said.
“We miss Kianna, but I think this team is ready for what UNLV has,” Sanchez said. “Looking at the film, and that was our fourth game in, we’re playing better. I know we’re playing better.”
UNM will host its annual “Pink Game” against UNLV on Wednesday.
The game means to raise money for the UNM Cancer Center and the Kay Yow Foundation. Fans who wear pink can get tickets for $2 and will be given strawberry milk after the game. The UNM team will wear pink jerseys during the game, which will be auctioned off afterward with all proceeds donated to the UNM Cancer Center.
The Kay Yow Foundation’s namesake is a former North Carolina State University head coach. Yow fought breast cancer for over 30 years before succumbing to it in 2007.
“It’s actually called Play 4 Kay; she’s the one that brought pink and everything,” Sanchez said. “Breast cancer wouldn’t be synonymous (with pink) without Kay Yow. I don’t think people realize that or know that … It’s a great way to honor her and women’s basketball.”
Women’s basketball vs. UNLV