Preview: NMSU at UNM on Saturday

Photo by Isabel Gonzalez

Joe Auletta

2018-19 Record 4-1 4-1
Scoring 80.6 ppg 70.4 ppg
Defense 71.8 ppg 53.2 ppg
Scoring Margin +8.8 +17.2
Rebounding Margin +6.4 +8.0
TO Margine +0.8 +3.0
Foul Margine +1.2 -1.6
# of 3 pt shots per game 26 18
3 pt shooting % 31.1% 25.3%
Returning players 6 8
Returning starters 1 3
# players > 10 min/gm 8 8

Saturday’s game against NMSU will be very different from the first five games the Lobos have played. First, the opponent is a known commodity, with three starters and eight players returning from the two UNM-NMSU matches last season.
Second, NMSU is relying on defense so far, unlike most the Lobos recent opponents. They are among the NCAA leaders in fewest points allowed (53.2 ppg) and opponent shooting percentage (32%, only 28% from three-point range). The opposition may be suspect, but the 17 ppg scoring margin does make one notice regardless of the opponents.
The Aggies will be one of the most experienced teams UNM faces. Besides the 8 returning players, three of the four new faces are JUCO or
Grad transfers, including a Hoop Gurlz Top 100 player from HS, Rodrea Echols who was previously at Oklahoma St, and 6’2” post player Adenike Aderinto who was a 1st team JUCO AA last season.
But the biggest threats are returning starters Brooke Salas and Gia Peck. Salas (#2) leads the team in scoring at 17.0 per game, 2nd in assists, and 1st in rebounds. She is shooting 52% from the field. Peck (#30) who scored 33 against UNM last year, is second on the team with 16 ppg, 3rd in assists, and 2nd in rebounds. She is shooting 50% from the field.
The supporting players include 5’9” Rodrea Echols (#1) who is first on the team in assists, steals, and has an almost 2-1 assist/TO ratio. She is a former top-100 HS player on her third school. Another JUCO transfer is Adenike Aderinto (#24) from Nigeria, who has only played one game so far, but started and went 11 & 6 in 21 minutes. Another Nigerian JUCO transfer, Nana Sule (#14) has started three games and has provided rebounding, if not much scoring. Besides Aderinto, the third Afican, 6’4” Aissatou Fall, is the only other player above 6’.
As a team, the Aggies shoot very well overall, 45% on field goals, but only 25% from long distance. Soph Kalei Atkinson is the only player with appreciable attempts from deep who has been making more than 27% of their shots—though Salas has proven able to hit shots from any part of the court.