Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Queens Baskets: Hot lobos gear up for ‘mad’ Colorado state

Moby Arena appears to be an unfriendly target for the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team on Saturday.

Colorado’s home court has never been particularly hospitable to the Lobos, who are 12-23 overall in Fort Collins and 2-7 in their last nine visits. You can’t expect a warm welcome on Saturday.

The Rams (11-3, 2-2 Mountain West) have undoubtedly been looking forward to this duel since last March, when the Lobos took two games from them in Albuquerque to snatch a regular-season conference title from them. Recent developments have only added fuel to the motivational fire.

UNM (14-4, 5-0) comes on a six-game win streak and is looking to build a cushion at the top of the MWC standings. Meanwhile, CSU suffered a stunning 77-52 home loss to the Air Force on Thursday, their first home loss to the Falcons since 2008 and the most lopsided in series history.

“We’re going to meet a bunch of angry Rams,” said Lobos coach Mike Bradbury.

Bradbury watched video of the Air Force rampage on Friday but said he didn’t give it too much importance. He fully expects to take on the version of Colorado State that opened the season 10-1 and still leads the Mountain West in goal defense.

“I assume they’re ready to go,” he said of the Rams. “Good teams have short memories. They had a rough night against the Air Force, but it’s just a game and you move on. Colorado State is still one of the best teams in our league.”

The Rams generally tip their hat to defense and 2021-22 is no exception. They boast the MWC’s highest-scoring defense, allowing for 58.1 points per game.

But CSU has dropped 72.8 points per game in conference games and faces a tough challenge slowing New Mexico, which is averaging a league-best 80.2 points in five MWC games. Four Lobo starters are averaging double-digit points, and fifth, Antonia Anderson, is averaging 9.8 per game.

“The most important thing is that we played well and got good shots,” said Bradbury. “Hopefully we can continue like this because the CSU is a good defensive team.”

The Rams are also more than capable on offense and are second only to UNM in made 3-pointers. Guards McKenna Hofschild, Upe Atosu and Kendyll Kinzer are good shots, and the Lobos gave up 11 three-pointers in Thursday’s 85-76 win in Wyoming.

BY THE NUMBERS: UNM are 5-0 in the conference game for the second time in program history, having accomplished the feat as members of the Western Athletic Conference in 1998-99. The Lobos have never started with a 6-0 in the conference game.

Anderson, who joined the Lobos’ 1,000 point club on Thursday, can tie the program record for games played on Saturday. Angela Hartill (2005-09) played 134 games for the Lobos. Anderson is at 133.

EARLY TIP: UNM’s rescheduled game against San Jose State on Jan. 24 will be played in the pit at 5:30 p.m. Originally scheduled for December 28, the game was rescheduled due to COVID issues in SJSU’s program.

Saturday

Mrs: UNM in the state of Colorado, 1 p.m., 610 p.m./95.9 FM, streaming at themw.com

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