Open Announce

UNM Begins Road Trip at Texas A&M-Commerce Saturday

by Allison Weiss

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— New Mexico starts its two-game road trip on Saturday against Texas A&M-Commerce, the first meeting between the two teams. Tip is set for 2 p.m. CT/ 1 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on ESPN+. Live stats and radio will also be available.

The Lobos (2-3) are coming off of a 36-point win on Tuesday against Western New Mexico in which five players scored in double figures, and the Lobos finished with 19 steals, nine blocks and nine three-pointers. Six players had multiple steals. Shaiquel McGruder had an all-around game with 14 points, five blocks, four steals, three assists and seven rebounds, with Vianè Cumber scoring a career-high 22 points on a career-high six three-pointers and had a career-high four steals.

Texas A&M- Commerce enters the game 1-3 on the season with a win over North Texas- Dallas (96-51) and losses to UT Arlington (75-72), Houston (71-55) and SMU (86-57).

The Lions are led in scoring by Dyani Robinson, who has led the team in scoring in two games (22 points against North Texas-Dallas and 26 against UT Arlington). On the boards, DesiRay Kernal is averaging 7.8 rebounds per game. Kernal also leads the team is assists (9, 2.3 per game). Laila Lawrence leads with eight steals on the season (2.0 per game) and Olivia Russell has a team-high four blocked shots (1.0 per game).

Texas A&M-Commerce has started Asiyha Smith, Robinson, Mia Deck and Kernal in all four games with Lawrence starting in the last three and Symmone James starting in the first game of the season. Lawrence (10.0) and James (11.0) join Robinson as the only players averaging double figures in scoring, although James has played in just one game.

The Lions share a number of common opponents with the Lobos in Houston, Southern Utah, Mississippi State, Boise State and Nicholls.

UNM has three players scoring in double figures, led by McGruder’s 14.6 ppg. McGruder also leads with 7.6 rebounds per game, 2.6 blocks per game and 3.2 steals per game.

The Lions also have three players scoring in double figures, led by Dyani Robinson with 17.3 ppg. Texas A&M-Commerce has lost its last three, including a game at Houston, a team that UNM defeated in its second game of the season.

The Lobos have recorded 10 or more steals in each game this season, recording a total of 70 for an average of 14.0 per game. UNM is 13th in the NCAA in steals per game.

UNM opened the season with 16 at Southern Utah, and followed that up with 10 against Houston, 14 at New Mexico State and 11 in the game against Arizona State. In the most recent game, UNM had 19 steals with six players recording multiple steals and seven with at least one steal.

Shaiquel McGruder leads with 16 steals (3.2 per game) with LaTascya Duff second at 11 (2.8 per game).

Four Lobos have had multiple steals in multiple games. McGruder has had multiple steals in every game this season, starting with five at SUU, three against Houston, four against Western New Mexico and two each against NMSU and ASU. LaTora Duff has had at least one steal in each game she’s played in, with two in two games and three against ASU, and LaTascya had five in the season opener, three at NMSU, two against Houston and one in the game against ASU. Amaya Brown has had multiple steals in four of the five games, with three games of two and three at NMSU.

UNM’s defense has also recorded multiple blocks in each game and has finished with at least six blocks in the last three games. Shaiquel McGruder leads with 13 blocks to date, with five against Western New Mexico and three each in the two games prior and Amaya Brown with two in the game against ASU.

The Lobos have 29 blocks and are 18th in the NCAA in blocks per game (5.8), leading the MW in the category. McGruder is 12th in the NCAA in blocks and 18th in blocks per game (2.6).

The Lobos had five players finish in double figures in the last game, but prior to that, had three players finish in double figures in the game against Houston and Arizona State and four players finish in double figures in the game at Southern Utah and New Mexico State.

LaTora Duff and Shaiquel McGruder have reached double digits in each of the games that they’ve played in this season, with McGruder scoring 13, 11, 11, 24 and 14 and LaTora scoring 13, 14, 13 and 13. LaTascya Duff has scored in double figures in three of the four games she’s played in (20, 10, 16).

McGruder (14.6), LaTora (13.3) and LaTascya (13.0) are all averaging double-digit points per game with Amaya Brown close at 8.8 ppg.

While the Lobos have started the same five every game but once this season, there has always been one player off of the bench that has stepped up when their number was called to enter the game.

In the last game against WNMU, the Lobo bench scored 29 points behind 18 from Nia Johnson and nine from Hulda Joaquim. Johnson finished with three steals, a block and an assist and is averaging 7.6 points per game this season off of the bench.

At the 9:18 mark of the 3rd quarter in Saturday’s game against Houston, Shaiquel McGruder grabbed an offensive rebound, took a dribble to create space and banked in a shot. In doing so, she scored her 1001th-career point and became the 18th Lobo in program history to achieve 1000 points and 500 rebounds and the 25th Lobo to score 1000-career points.

She currently has 1055 points and 660 rebounds, ranking her 20th all-time in points and two points away from 19th, six away from 18th and 18 away from 17th. When it comes to rebounds, McGruder is 13th in program history and is nine away from 12th.

Following Saturday’s game, the Lobos will remain on the road and travel to Thibodaux, Louisiana to face the Nicholls Colonels on Tuesday at 5 p.m. CT/ 4 p.m. MT.