The New Mexico women’s basketball team had its winning streak halted at four by UNLV, but look to protect home court when it returns to WisePies Arena aka The Pit on Saturday.

New Mexico (8-7, 4-1 MW) dropped into second place in the Mountain West standings after suffering a 56-42 loss on Wednesday at the hands of UNLV.



The Lobos sit just a few percentage points higher than Colorado State (11-5, 3-1 MW) in conference, but can create some separation in the standings with a win over the Rams.

A release said UNM has a 40-35 advantage in the all-time history of the series, although CSU has enjoyed recent success, winning five of the last six meetings.

010417_wbk_csu_preview2_nf
By Nick Fojud

Junior guard Cherise Beynon reacts to a call made during the Lobos game against Utah State Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017 at WisePies Arena. 

The Rams have been dominant in conference play over the past several seasons, posting a stellar 26-1 record against Mountain West competition in their last 27 regular season games.

But the Lobos played tough against opponents at home this season. The team has won three consecutive contests at WisePies Arena and have posted a 6-3 record overall.

CSU has a plethora of international talent, featuring eight international players on the roster. The team is anchored by a pair of seniors from Sweden, guard Ellen Nystrom and forward Elin Gustavsson.

Nystrom leads the team in scoring with 16.2 points, as well as rebounds at 8.0. She has actually averaged a double-double in conference play and has shown efficient shooting from both the 3-point and free throw line.

The Rams starting lineup does not typically include a “true” center, but there is plenty of length in the rotation. Gustavsson is 6’3” and has used her size to average 10.7 points and 5.7 boards per game so far this season.

The Lobos will likely some strong post play from its seniors. 6’5” center Richelle van der Keijl and 6’4” forward Kianna Keller are formidable shot-blockers and rebounders. They average 10.3 and 7.4 boards, respectively and reject over two shots per game.

UNM junior guard Cherise Beynon has been a streaky shooter, but went cold last game and scored just four points in the loss to UNLV.

The team has found some balance in its scoring attack though, with four players averaging in double figures. Beynon leads the way with 15.5 points per game.

Head coach Mike Bradbury recently said sophomore center Jaisa Nunn has the potential to be the best player in the gym on any given night in one of the postgame conferences.

Nunn has put up 10.6 points per contest, all off the bench. She has scored in double figures in three of her last four games, posting a career-high 22 points Jan. 4 in a win over Utah State.

Beynon also has the ability to score in bunches. She has erupted for 20+ points in seven games so far this season.

Points could come at a premium since CSU has been stingy on defense. It boasts the No. 5 defense in the nation, allowing just over 52 points per game. The Lobos have put up about 69 points per contest, while allowing 62.

The Lobos will likely need to limit their turnovers and use rebounds to convert second-chance scoring opportunities.

Fans can see the teams will square off against each other for just $2 in the “Pack the Pit” game. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Mountain West Network.

Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers football and men’s and women’s tennis. He can be reached at sports@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @robert_maler.