University of New Mexico women’s basketball coach Mike Bradbury likes what he’s seen thus far from his 2020-21 team.
It’s what he hasn’t seen that’s concerning.
Bradbury held a Zoom media conference Tuesday to discuss the state of his program during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With the Mountain West having released men’s and women’s conference schedules last week, Bradbury and his staff are trying to piece together eight to nine nonconference games and determine what this revamped group of Lobos is going to look like when the season finally starts.
UNM has not released its full schedule, but Bradbury gave a few insights Tuesday about the nonconference portion. The Lobos expect to open at home Nov. 25 (the first day allowed by under NCAA mandate) against a foe yet to be named, and they’ll then depart for “an extended period,” Bradbury said.
New Mexico plans to play two games against New Mexico State and host non-Division I opponents Northern New Mexico and College of the Southwest. The latter two games are replacements for Division I games that had to be postponed or canceled for pandemic-related reasons.
For example, UNM had games set against Arizona and Arizona State but lost those dates when the Pac-12 opted to play 22 conference games this season, leaving member teams just three nonconference openings. The UNM-ASU game, which is the back end of a home-and-home series that began when the Lobos played in Tempe last season, has been rescheduled for 2021-22. UNM currently has eight non-league games scheduled.
“We’ve almost had to start from scratch with this a couple of times,” Bradbury said. “It looks nothing like the original schedule we had before COVID.”
Bradbury conceded he still doesn’t know what this year’s lineup will look like when game one rolls around. State pandemic restrictions have not allowed the Lobos to have full team practices or contact during workouts. Coaches can determine only so much from undefended offensive-oriented drills, Bradbury said.
Again, there were a few revelations.
Junior college transfer LaTora Duff and sophomore Corina Carter figure to handle point guard duties in the absence of since-graduated Aisia Robertson. Senior Jaedyn De La Cerda would be the “emergency point guard,” Bradbury said.
Sophomore Azaria Robinson (6-foot-3) and redshirt freshman Celine Dupont (6-4) are expected to anchor the post for UNM this season and perhaps beyond. Bradbury anticipates playing a perimeter-oriented offense, and the Lobos’ committed recruits for 2021 are guards or wing players.
As for the recruiting class that is expected to sign in November, Bradbury called it “the best group we’ve had from a talent and character standpoint.” NCAA rules do not allow coaches to comment specifically on unsigned players.
UNM expects four players to sign, three announcing commitments via social media: Viané Cumber (5-10, G/F, Sandia HS); Mackenzie Curtis (5-10, G, El Capitan HS, Lakeside, Calif.ornia) and Aniyah Augmon (5-7, G, Woodside Priory HS, Portola Valley, California).