TLL Interview With Shai McGruder

Freshman Shai MaGruder, from Dayton Ohio

Shai Interview 2018

Watching Shai McGruder–whether in practice or a game—I keep getting the feeling in the back of my mind that the gym is too small to contain her.  She will get a rebound under the basket at one end of the floor, pass it to a guard, and then beat everyone down court to the offensive basket. She will dive on the floor to try and make a steal, and a few moments later sky upwards to effortlessly scrape the rim.  The Lobo roster this season is filled with a lot of athletic players, but Shai is arguably the most physically talented post the team has had in a long time.

As with many freshmen, big numbers in HS (25+ points and 9+ rebound per game her senior season) do not always translate into immediate playing time.  In the first six games this season she averaged about six minutes and two points per game, the bulk of that in one game vs Texas Southern.. But as the speed has become more focused in the team structure, the time on court has grown quickly.  In the next six games that increased to twelve minutes a game, with scoring and rebounding numbers increasing substantially. Among the bench players she is also second on the team in steals and blocks.

But the most notable thing Shai contributes to each game when she get in, is energy.  Something exciting is always going to happen, and more often it has been good than bad for the Lobos.  This has earned her her most minutes in the most recent two games, 19 against Air Force (9 points, 9 rebounds, two blocks, 2 steals), and 18 at Nevada (9 points 4 rebounds, 2 steals).

The following interview was done before Christmas break, but a few personal issues (on my part) delayed that until now.

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Lobos after 1Q of MWC Play

Some thoughts after four games

Once the conference season starts the pace of games picks up, and other than the two bye dates it is difficult to absorb one game before it’s time to start focusing on the next.  Time to stop and think is rare, time for substantive analysis rarer still.  But at the quarter point of the conference schedule it is good to take at least a quick assessment.

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Lobo Women At the Start of MWC: Practice & Trends

Freshman Ahlise Hurst shoots against UTEP (Photo: Gary Stepic)

Is the 10-1 start supported by the numbers?

First day of 2019, day before the conference opener.  I thought it might be a good time to take a look at where the team is, and how coach-speak compares to the non-conference play performance.  Mostly I took a look at the elements Mike Bradbury has said are his focus and compared them to the past two seasons, and to the 2014-15 season that was the best season in Yvonne’s Sanchez’ period.

But before that, a few thoughts from Monday’s practice, the last one before MWC games. Continue reading “Lobo Women At the Start of MWC: Practice & Trends”

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Preview: UTEP at the Pit Tonight

Joe Auletta    @Lobo2x53


2018-19 Record 5-1 2-5
Scoring 81.0 ppg 64.1 ppg
Defense 69.5 ppg 61.4 ppg
Scoring Margin +11.5 +2.7
Rebounding Margin +6.2 +4.9
TO Margine +0.8 -0.8
Foul Margine +0.8 +5.4
# of 3 pt shots per game 26 20
3 pt shooting % 31.0% 29.5%
Returning players 6 4
Returning starters 1 2.5
# players > 10 min/gm 8 8

Tonight is essentially the third out of four rivalry games this season—OK, NMSU, and now UTEP. While UTEP is currently 2-5 for the season, they have ample motivation coming into this game. Last season the Lobo went to El Paso and soundly beat a UTEP team that had high hopes for the season, 59-35. The Miners were proud of being a tough, physical team led by their senior center, Tamar Seda. Seda got her double-double with 11 & 13, but the Lobos held the rest of the team to 6 for 32 shooting. After the game UTEP coach Kevin Baker had some angry words about how the Lobos were thugs and constantly manhandled Seda (who the Miner offence was built around).

Seda (graduated) and most the players are gone now, including their second leading scorer and best 3-pt shooter, Naj Howell—who just happens to sit on the UNM bench now as a RS. Only four players return for UTEP, but the events of last season’s game will be clearly told to the team—with an appropriate UTEP spin of course. The rest of the team roster has four freshmen and four JUCO transfers. Continue reading “Preview: UTEP at the Pit Tonight”

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Lobos outrun NMSU at the Pit, 83-58, behind a team effort (and Aisia’s 23 points)

Joe Auletta  @Lobo2x53

I was getting into a pattern this season: watch the game, get stressed, watch my blood pressure rise from the tip-off to the closing seconds. Auburn, Houston, Oklahoma. Not the best for my health, but great entertainment. With NMSU coming to town, and as tight as the rivalry games had been running, I was expecting more. Fifteen seconds in JUCO transfer and 6’2” post Adenike Aderinto sets a pick, rolls to the basket for an easy basket and a 2-0 NMSU lead. A minute later, same play, another easy basket and the Aggies are up 4-2. After Aisia ties it, Gia Pack hit a three to give NMSU their third lead of the game. Tension slowly starts to rise with memories of last season’s 101-93 game in Las Cruse last year.

Sixteen seconds later, Ahlise hits her first of three triples for the game. Tied. Less than a minute later, Jaisa is trailing the break, spots up at the top of the arc, and hits a three. Next possession, same result—Jaisa three pointer and Lobos are up six. Brooke salas, NMSU’s leading scorer, makes a jumper to stop the run momentarily, but for the last five minutes of the quarter the Lobos rip the Aggie defense for 15 more points making it a 24-5 run to end the quarter with a 28-12 lead. They shot 52% from the field and harassed NMSU into 3 of 16 shooting after the initial two Continue reading “Lobos outrun NMSU at the Pit, 83-58, behind a team effort (and Aisia’s 23 points)”

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