TLL Interview With President Stokes

President Stokes with Vera Jo at a WBB Practice
Photo by Joe Auletta

Joe:  I’ve noticed you have been to a lot of the women’s games.  Are you a women’s basketball fan, a sports fan, or do you feel that this is part of your responsibilities as President?

President Stokes:  I would say it probably a little bit of all of those. I have come to enjoy women’s basketball in particular as I’ve been in leadership roles in my last few institutions.  I enjoy collegiate sports in general.  I am not a tremendously avid fan of every sport, but I value the role of athletics at universities and value supporting student athletes.  There is a little bit of it that I think is perhaps the role of the President supporting the many ways that our students are engaged on a campus.  But the reality is that a President can’t get to everything that our students do.  We have many things inside and outside of athletics where our students are engaged in something where they are excelling.  I try to get to as many different things as possible.

Joe:  What do you think that role of athletics is at school?

President Stokes:  Well, that has been an interesting evolution over time.  I think athletics and its place at universities has been changing and in many places, sports are such big time economically in terms of visibility for institutions that it can be hard to seek the proper balance between the other missions of the university and the place of athletics as a window into the

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Lobos Face Another Challenging Game As They Reach the Half Way Point

After playing three close games against some of the top teams in the conference, Fresno St (6-2 in the MWC, 13-6 overall), in the Pit this afternoon at 2 PM.  Fresno enters in third place, one game behind UNM and Boise.  Unlike some of the Lobo’s recent opponents who want to play at a slower pace, Fresno want to speed it up, as UNM does.  Both are scoring over 70 per game in conference.

Fresno is led by three starters who average over 30 min per game and dominate the Bulldog stat sheet.  Senior guard Candice White (#10), a clear all-conference player, leads them with 19.3 ppg, and over 20 in the last five.  She shoots from close in and far out, making her shots at a 47% rate, is 2nd in rebounds, 3rd in steals, and 4th in assists.  Sophomore Maddi Utti (#11) was a surprise as a freshman and has grown from there.  She is second in scoring (11.5, shooting better than 55%, mostly close in) and leads the team in rebounds with almost 7 per game, 3rd in steals and 4th in assists.  The third member of their trio is another soph, Aly Gamez (#22) who leads in assists and steal while scoring at a 10.6 rate.

The Australian connection that was prevalent with Utah State is alive and well on the Fresno roster, with two players from down under, and a third from New Zeeland as well.

For the Lobos, freshmen Jayla Everett and Ahlise Hurst are leading the team in minutes.  Jayla also leads in scoring in conference and is coming off a MWC player of the week honor.fffffffffffff

Of Beating UNLV, Close Games, and Underclassmen

Jaisa Nunn scores 26, grabs 12 rebounds as Lobos defeat UNLV 80-77 in OT

Two games into the brutal four games stretch, it has started well.  The ladies broke losing streaks to Wyoming and UNLV, both in heart-stressing fashion.  There were two things that piqued my curiosity.

First, the 78-75 and 80-77 wins brought UNM’s record to 5-1 in games decided by six points or less—two possessions or less.  It seemed that last season we lost most the very close games we played, and I started looking through past seasons to see how this 5-1 mark compared.

The second thought—which I have had multiple times—is how this team is

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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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