Stevens: Lobos Vs. Aggies II Features Debut of Antiesha Brown

Dec. 17, 2012

New Mexico Lobos Women Basketball - At New Mexico State

Tuesday: 6:30 p.m. -- New Mexico Lobos (7-3) at New Mexico State (5-3)
On The Air: 610-AM KNML; Aggie Vision (TV); Video stream: Game Story, Statistics

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

The main plot Tuesday in Las Cruces is Lobos vs. Aggies. It simply has to be that way. The New Mexico Lobos slapped down New Mexico State 60-37 on Nov. 20 in The Pit and the Aggies were not happy about it.

The Aggies want to defend their turf, get redemption, and maybe prove they can make a few shots on the home rims in the Pan American Center.

"They are more aggressive down there and it's a hostile environment," said Lobo senior Chinyere Nnaji. "It's a rivalry game. We have to do down there with our best and know it's going to be a tough game."

The Lobos threw out a lot of their best in that 23-point Pit romp and held NMSU to 12.5 shooting in the second half. Yvonne Sanchez's Lobos probably will be a better team on Tuesday.

That's the Tuesday subplot: the debut of Lobo Antiesha Brown.

It's probable that Brown will add a whole lot of things to the Lobos of 2012-13, but for sure Brown hands Coach Sanchez a gifted athlete.

The 5-foot-10 Brown was Ms. Everything at Clovis High and left that East New Mexico town for Texas Tech as the Wildcats' all-time leading scorer in girls' hoops. She also held the Clovis record in the long jump and the triple jump and was an anchor on the Wildcats' volleyball team.

On the basketball court, her 5-10 frame allowed her to succeed with a power game, but at Texas Tech she had to make the transition to the perimeter. She needed to work on her outside shot, improve her ball handling, learn to guard quicker players.

She played seven games and scored nine points as a freshman before deciding to transfer to New Mexico. She has the potential to help the Lobos in a lot of areas.

"She has definitely been in the rotation," said Sanchez of preparing her Lobos for NMSU. "She is going to do really, really well for us.

"She doesn't have to come in and do it all. The tendency is to want to do everything on one possession. We have really good players surrounding her. She'll have an opportunity to just relax and play the game."

Brown gives the Lobos more strength and quickness on the edge. She runs the court well and should be a valuable addition to the Lobos' already-solid defense. For sure, she'll help the Lobos in the aggression department. Brown plays hard.

That perimeter aggression should come in handy against a NMSU team that can struggle on the offensive end. In The Pit, the Aggies' 12.5 second-half shooting was aided by NMSU going 0-of-18 overall from 3-point range. The Aggies shot 21.9 (14-of-64) percent for the game.

The Aggies are expecting to shoot better on their home rims and they need that change if they are to snap UNM's 10-game win streak over teams from Cruces. The Lobos have won 28 of 29 from NMSU.

"We just take it as another game," said Nnaji of the trip into the Pan American Center. "Just go in, know what we need to do, scout them, and just execute on the court."

The Lobos pretty much had their way with the Aggies in the second half in The Pit. UNM jumped out to a modest 27-22 halftime lead, but outscored NMSU 33-15 in the second half.

The Lobos' key to a win in Cruces is to do pretty much what they did in Albuquerque. The Lobos shot 46.2 percent at home and freshman Bryce Owens had 10 assists. The Aggies obviously need to shoot better, play better defense, and try to create Lobo turnovers with pressure.

The Aggies had two players in double figures in the first meeting: Danesia Williamson and Stefanie Gilbreath each with 10 points. But Williamson went 4-of-16 from the floor and Gilbreath went 4-of-15. They combined to go 0-of-11 from long range. The Aggies won the board battle, 44-43, and had 17 offensive boards to six for UNM.

Williamson is NMSU's leading scorer with a 14.0 average followed by Gilbreath at 13.8 and Kelsie Rozendaal at 10.3.

Sanchez doesn't expect the game to fall into Lobo hands as easily in Cruces.

"New Mexico State is undefeated at home right now," said Sanchez. "It's always a tough game. You throw records out. You throw everything out.

"They are going to come out and play hard. They are going to be ready for us. The first game is not an indication of going down there for the second game."

A look at NMSU's other "rivalry" game throws some perspective of what the Aggies can do at home vs. on the road. The Aggies beat UTEP 69-68 in Las Cruces and lost 66-44 to the Miners in El Paso.

The Aggies shot 35.6 percent in the win over UTEP and held the Miners to 34.3 percent shooting. NMSU went 10-of-22 from 3-point range in that win. The Aggies went 2-of-11 from 3-point range in El Paso and shot 20.5 percent from the floor.

The Aggies shot 11.8 percent in the first half in El Paso and were down 36-14 at the half. However, the Aggies played without Gilbreath and Rozendaal in that second bout with the Miners.

The Lobos will stay South after their Cruces visit and face that buzz-saw UTEP defense Thursday in El Paso.

The Aggies are hoping to pack the Pan-Am Center Tuesday by offering free tickets to the women's game for any Aggie fan that purchases a ticket to the NMSU/Lobo men's game on Wednesday.

"That's good. It will be nice to have a crowd," said Sanchez. "We have a bus going down. We'll have a lot of people. It might be the biggest crowd that State has had this year and they deserve it. That would be terrific."