Another day, another detour for the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team.
Coming off a successful opening road trip, the Lobos are navigating an ever-changing landscape while trying to lock in a third non-conference game. The plan has been altered more than once in recent days.
UNM had scheduled a Dec. 16 visit to Prairie View A&M, but that game is now off. In its place, for the moment at least, is a trip to Southeast Louisiana on Dec. 18.
Lobos coach Mike Bradbury hopes to get one more game before UNM’s scheduled Mountain West opener at Nevada on Dec. 31. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is making that aspiration tough to accomplish.
The Lobos’ trip to Prairie View was scuttled because of a positive test result within PVAMU’s program, Bradbury said. That school’s athletic website never officially added UNM to its women’s basketball schedule, but other games have been postponed or canceled, including one Friday at Marquette.
After returning home from Sunday’s 98-89 victory at Sam Houston State, UNM’s staff contacted several schools about setting up a game before settling on a date at Southeast Louisiana. That game has been agreed upon, but Bradbury had not yet received a signed contract as of Tuesday night.
“This season’s all about adjusting on the fly,” Bradbury said. “One game gets canceled and we circle back through four or five other schools to see what they’re doing. Playing Southeast Louisiana would be great, but that’s still over a week out. We’ll see.”
Such uncertainty makes setting a practice schedule that much more difficult as New Mexico’s coronavirus restrictions do not allow full-team workouts within the state. The Lobos did film study and small-group drills Tuesday, but they’ll likely return to Canyon, Texas, at some point to prepare for their next game.
Despite limited preparation, the Lobos went 2-0 on last week’s opening trip – one that mirrored what they’ll face when MWC play begins with two games in three days.
“I’d love to take credit for that,” Bradbury said, “but that’s just the way things worked out. I do think it could end up being good preparation, though.”
DEPARTURES: UNM’s roster stands at 12 players after two recent departures. Freshman Chasity Selden-Horn opted to return home in early September, Bradbury said, and sophomore Andriana Avent was dismissed prior to last week’s road trip.
Selden-Horn, a guard from Eagle River, Alaska, arrived in Albuquerque during the summer but elected not to stay, Bradbury said.
“She left because she was homesick and needed to take care of her family,” he said. “Entirely her decision.”
Avent, a 5-foot-10 guard who played sparingly last season, was dismissed for violating team rules, Bradbury said. He declined to elaborate. Avent appeared in nine games in 2019-20, scoring 26 points in all. She was listed on UNM’s stat sheet Friday at Midwestern State but was not with the team.
UNM began the offseason with 14 scholarship players and has two seniors (Jaedyn De La Cerda and Antonia Anderson), which leaves five scholarships available for next season. UNM recently signed three high school seniors, and Bradbury expects to add at least one more in the spring.
NO HOME ON THE RANGE: While UNM’s men’s team is reportedly considering playing “home” games in Texas this season, Bradbury does not favor a similar plan for the women’s program.
“I would be 100% against that,” he said. “Spending so much time locked up in Texas hotel rooms is not healthy.”
Barring a change in New Mexico’s public health order regarding collegiate athletic teams, Bradbury said he anticipates the Lobos playing their entire 2020-21 schedule on the road.