The urgency to get on the winning track for the New Mexico women’s basketball team has begun.

Following UNM’s 66-48 loss to Wyoming, the Lobos (9-7, 2-3 MW) fell to the bottom half of the Mountain West standings. Although there is still plenty of conference play left, head coach Yvonne Sanchez said she is still searching for the right pieces to get her team in the winning mindset.

One of the big question marks heading into the season was how the Lobos would fair without its star shooting guard Antiesha Brown. UNM has now played 16 games without the former guard, but is still in search of a go-to player that facilitates rhythm in the offense.



“I knew I could call a play for Antiesha and she’d get a shot in,” Sanchez said. “I don’t have a kid that can do that this year unless there is a hot hand out there.”

Sophomore guard Cherise Beynon has tried to fill that role of becoming the Lobos’ consistent playmaker, but has not yet evolved into that particular role yet.

In Saturday’s road loss, Beynon took 26 shots, the most in her collegiate career. However, she only made five of her attempts, something Sanchez attributed to the guard trying to do too much.

Beynon wasn’t the only member of UNM’s offense who was having difficulty from the field. The team as a whole shot under 28 percent (18-65).

Senior guard Bryce Owens had a rough night from the field as she put up seven points on 3-11 shooting from the field and didn’t record an assist in 21 minutes of play.

Owens said the team needs to come out with more fire at the start of the contest propelling through the entirety of the game. She said that starts with the leadership of the team’s veterans.

“It starts with the seniors and trickles down to everybody else,” she said. “Once we get that consistency from everybody then we’ll be fine, just like we were against UNLV.”

While the Lobos played well overall against UNLV, Sanchez said the Lobos can’t count on a rivalry to uplift the team’s energy. She said the Lobos have to approach the rest of league play with high intensity.

In Laramie, Wyoming, the Lobos got off to an early three point advantage in the first quarter but couldn’t dig out of a deep hole after the Cowgirls shot lights out from the field and beyond the arc.

Sanchez said she expected Wyoming (10-6, 3-3 MW) to come with a hard hitting offense, but didn’t attribute the 18-point loss to poor defense. She said it’s hard to ask any defense to compensate for an offense that is unable to hit shots late in games.

At the start of the fourth quarter, UNM cut the lead to just five points with 8:29 remaining in the contest. The Lobos’ comeback attempt was brought to a halt when the score was 45-39 as the Cowgirls went on a 21-9 run from that point to close out the game.

“From a coaching standpoint, you’ve got to fight and stay positive,” Sanchez said. “Struggles are going to come and go or they’re going to be there all year. The biggest thing we have to do is keep fighting.”

Liam Cary-Eaves is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers volleyball, women’s basketball, baseball, and beach volleyball. He can be reached at sports@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @Liam_CE.