Stevens: Texas Tech Red Raiders Want To Run With Lobos In The Pit

Nov. 14, 2012

New Mexico Lobos Women's Basketball - In The Pit

When/Who: 7 p.m., Thursday -- vs. Texas Tech
On The Air: 610-AM KNML with Joe Behrend & Nikki Heckroth GameTracker, Live Stream, Game Story, Stats, Photo Gallery

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

The Yvonne Sanchez Lobos have talked up the possibility that the new-look Lobos with new-look depth might be running and gunning in The Pit.

But do these Lobos want to run with Texas Tech?

The answer is "yes" and "no." The Lobos want to run and might not have a choice, if the Red Raiders dictate the tempo. But the Lobos really don't want to be watching the Tech Raiders run.

"We have to stop transition baskets. We can't let them run and shoot layups," said Sanchez. "We have to get back.

"They are going to press us. They are going to try to pressure us into mistakes and speed the game up. That's what they want to do and they are very good at that."

The Red Raiders are quick and athletic and like to feed off opponents' mistakes and turn those errors into easy buckets. That will be a big part of their plan at 7 p.m., Thursday in The Pit when the Red Raiders tip with the New Mexico Lobos.

Tech ran past UNM 69-43 a year ago in Lubbock and Tech holds a 13-2 edge in the series. UNM's two wins came in The Pit and Tech won the last game on Bob King Floor, 80-53.

The Red Raiders and the Lobos are both 1-0 entering the second game of the young season. The Lobos nudged past Northern Arizona while Tech smothered Arizona State 61-49 in Tempe, Ariz.

In their win at ASU, the Red Raiders showed some of the quickness that worries Coach Sanchez. The Raiders had 16 steals and scored 22 points off ASU's 22 turnovers. Tech had 12 points in transition.

The game at Tempe was 42-41 in Tech's favor with 11:47 to play. A 15-0 burst by Texas Tech put the game on ice.

Tech was led by Casey Morris with 15 points followed by Jackie Patterson (12), Chynna Brown (10 and Christine Hyde (10). Red Raider sophomore Amber Battle, a former star at Albuquerque Cibola High, played four minutes at ASU and did not score.

"We can't let Casey Morris shoot at will," said Sanchez. "We can't give her open looks. If she hits contested jump shots, so be it. But we have to know where she is all the time."

The Lobos are 1-0 overall and in The Pit after their 68-57 win over Northern Arizona. UNM had three players with 13 points: Sara Halasz, Caroline Durbin and Khadijah Shumpert.

The Lobos won the board battle 41-32 and had nine players with 10 minutes or more playing time. Point guard Bryce Owens led that chart with 35 minutes.

The Lobos are not a towering team, but they might have the height edge over Tech. The Red Raider starters at ASU went 6-1, 6-0, 5-9, 5-8 and 5-6. The two top subs off the bench went 5-10, 5-10.

But all these Red Raiders can run, attack the basket, and play inside.

"They want to run the floor and get transition baskets," said Sanchez. "But their post players go inside strong and establish the block. They'll go inside

"They like to pressure and have a number of presses they'll come at you with. They'll play zone or get on you hard in the man and deny you the ball. They aren't easy. They are good and they are well coached."

The game should be an interesting test for UNM freshman point guard Bryce Owens, a speedster, who will be challenged, if Tech goes full with its press - and, at some point, the Red Raiders will.

"I'm not going to put breaking the press all on her (Owens') shoulders," said Sanchez. "She doesn't' have to dribble through the press to be successful. It has to be a team effort in breaking the press.

"And when we break it, we have to make sure we are taking good shots or showing patience in running our offense."