Lobos Host Colorado State Thursday
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— New Mexico plays three of its next four games at home, starting with Colorado State on Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Lobos enter the game 11-9 (3-4 MW) after going 1-1 last week, but had three players averaging double figures. Shaiquel McGruder averaged 20.0 points and 12.0 rebounds on the week, scoring 12 points with 10 rebounds at San Diego State and scoring a season-high 25 points and tallying a game-high 14 rebounds against Boise State. LaTascya Duff averaged 13.0 points per game and made six three-pointers between the two games, and LaTora Duff averaged 10.0 points on the week.
CSU went 2-1 last week with wins over San Diego State and Nevada before losing to UNLV on Saturday to move to 13-6 on the season, 6-2 in conference.
Thursday’s game will be the first repeat MW opponent for the Lobos, having played the Rams in Fort Collins in early January. Since that game, CSU has gone 3-1 and the Lobos have gone 2-2.
Both UNM and CSU enter the game as the top-two teams in the MW in three-pointers per game, with UNM averaging 8.6 and CSU averaging 7.3 in conference games and even closer on the season, with CSU averaging 8.84 and UNM at 8.80. UNM has made more three-pointers overall with 176 to CSU’s 168, but the Rams have played one less game.
UNM is 8-2 in the last 10 games in the series, but CSU has won the last two games. The Lobos are 29-13 against the Rams at home.
SOPHOMORES STEPPING UP
Vianè Cumber has stepped into being a reliable three-point shooter and has finished with double figures in seven games with a game with 22 points, 17 against Mississippi State, 16 against South Carolina State, three games with 15 and 12 at UNLV. The Lobo sophomore is averaging 16.4 minutes per game and 7.7 points per game, shooting 45.5% overall and 41.4% from three-point range. Cumber is second on the team in made three-pointers with 36 and is third in field-goal percentage. She has had 11 games with multiple three-pointers. The New Mexico native is fifth in the MW in three-pointers per game (1.9) and eighth in conference games in three-pointers made per game (1.7).
Aniyah Augmon has stepped into a larger role this season as well and has scored in double figures in three of the last four games. She finished with a then-career-high nine points at Colorado State, which she surpassed in the next game against Nevada, scoring 11 on 4-5 shooting. She tallied a new career high at UNLV with 18 points and tied her career high in rebounds with a season-high 10 for her first career double-double. The guard is averaging 19.3 minutes per game, 5.8 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game and 1.7 assists per game. She was a perfect 3-3 from three against UNLV and 1-1 at SDSU and is shooting 49.3% from the floor and 42.1% from three-point range. She went a perfect 6-6 at the free-throw line against Boise State in the last game and finished with 10 points.
Paula Reus has stepped into a starting role this season, starting all 20 games this season, and is averaging 8.2 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game and 0.8 steals per game in an average of 27.4 minutes per game. Reus has scored in double figures in nine games this season, including three of the last four, and finished with double-digit rebounds in two games. Reus led the team in rebounds in five games. She recorded her first career double-double against NMSU with 11 points and 10 rebounds (a career high) and matched her career high of 10 rebounds at Colorado State. Reus is third on the team in rebounds (99) and assists (42) and fourth in three-pointers (22) and in points (163).
FINDING OTHER WAYS TO SCORE
While UNM has had eight games with 10-plus three-pointers, the Lobos are actually 3-5 in those games. The Lobos are 4-2 when making exactly nine and won against Houston when only making two three-pointers and against Boise State when making only four.
The Lobos are shooting 42.8 percent from the floor this season and 50.3% (354-704) when excluding three-point attempts. The Lobos are 8-4 when shooting .400 or better and have shot .400 or better in 12 of the last 17 games, including a season-high 54.8% in the game against South Carolina State. UNM shot 54.5% in its game against Nevada for its second-highest percentage of the season.
The Lobos have shot better than 50.0% in four games this season.
UNM has had seven different leading scorers this season in LaTascya Duff, Amaya Brown, LaTora Duff, Vianè Cumber, Shaiquel McGruder, Paula Reus and most recently, Aniyah Augmon.
The game at Nicholls was the first time that there was a repeat leading scorer, with LaTascya scoring a game-high 20 points at Southern Utah and at Nicholls. Duff also led the scoring at SDSU with 16 points. Reus led the team in scoring twice, with 18 at Texas A&M-Commerce and 14 against Arizona. Cumber has led the team in scoring twice with 22 against Western New Mexico and 17 against Mississippi State. Following the game at CSU, Brown has now led the team in scoring twice (16 against Houston, career-high 18 at Colorado State). Augmon led the team in scoring at UNLV with a career-high 18 points.
McGruder has led the Lobos in scoring eight times, scoring 25 against Boise State, 24 against Arizona State, 23 against Abilene Christian and South Carolina State, 22 at Wyoming, 21 against Air Force and 16 against NMSU and Old Dominion.
Further, of the players that have appeared in more than half of the games this season, six are shooting 40.0% or better from the floor. Of the players that have played in all seven conference games, five are shooting 40.0% or better.
KNOW YOUR OPPONENT
Since the Lobos last played the Rams on Jan. 7, Colorado State went 3-1 with wins over Boise State (71-50), San Diego State (71-58) and Nevada (84-67) before losing to UNLV (63-58) to move to 13-6 on the season, 6-2 in conference. CSU is 2-3 on the season, 2-1 in conference games on the road.
The Rams continue to be led in scoring by McKenna Hofschild at 21.3 ppg, and is joined in double figures by Destiny Thurman (15.1 ppg) and Cailyn Crocker (12.2 ppg). Against MW competition, Hofschild is averaging 23.6 ppg with Thurman at 17.9 ppg and Crocker at 14.0 ppg.
As a team, Colorado State is averaging 76.4 ppg and allowing 64.3 ppg for a conference-best +12.1 scoring margin. CSU is also leading the MW in defensive field-goal percentage at .374 and is third in field-goal percentage at .462.
CSU has started Hofschild, Thurman, Crocker and Sydney Mech in all eight conference games with Cali Clark starting in six (including the last five) and Joseana Vaz in two.
Nationally, CSU is first in the NCAA in assist/turnover ratio at 1.83 with Hofschild first at 4.41. The Rams are also fourth in three-point percentage (40.3), 13th in three-pointers per game (8.8), 19th in free-throw percentage (77.9), 20th in turnover margin (5.2) and 25th in scoring offense.
The Lobos travel to Utah State to face the Aggies on Saturday, Jan. 28 before hosting UNLV (2/2) and San Diego State (2/4).