The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team may carry two noteworthy roster distinctions into the 2021-22 season.
The Lobos could have one of the nation’s most experienced starting lineups – and still rank as one of the youngest teams.
UNM officially got younger Tuesday, announcing the additions of two international players who will be freshmen next season. The Lobos added guards Zeyno Isil Seren, a 5-foot-10 guard from Ankara, Turkey, and Rebeka Renczes, a 5-7 point guard from Szekszgard, Hungary, bringing next season’s roster to 12 players.
The group includes five seniors (Antonia Anderson, Jaedyn De La Cerda, Shaiquel McGruder, LaTora and LaTascya Duff), all of whom may start. The remaining players are two relatively inexperienced sophomores (Kath van Bennekom and Nevaeh Parkinson) and five incoming freshmen.
“It’s really more like five seniors and seven freshmen,” UNM coach Mike Bradbury said. “Kath and Nevaeh haven’t had an offseason here and last year was not a normal season. Assuming our seniors start, our bench is going to be really young. I don’t think I’ve had a team quite like this.”
Youthful though they are, Bradbury likes his latest additions. Isil Seren has played with Turkish National age group teams and for Ankara’s BOTAS sports club, advancing to European championship tournaments at both levels.
“Zeyno can play all four guard positions and she can really score,” Bradbury said. “She can shoot, put the ball on the floor. She scores at every level.”
Renczes, who submitted her signed commitment paperwork to UNM in late April, provides needed depth at point guard behind starter LaTora Duff.
“Rebeka is more of a pass-first player,” Bradbury said, “sees the floor really well and has great potential. Having a year to work with Tora should be really good for her.”
Isil Seren and Renczes join a recruiting class that includes freshmen Viané Cumber (5-10 guard, Sandia High School), Mackenzie Curtis (5-9 guard, Lakeside, California) and Aniyah Augmon (5-8 guard, San Jose, California). Bradbury called the five freshmen a talented group but conceded they will need to grow up quickly for the Lobos next season.
“At least some of them will have to play right away,” he said. “We’ll find out pretty quickly what they can do.”
Like so many other programs around the country, UNM lost players to postseason transfers in 2021.With student-athletes no longer required to sit out a season after transferring, the NCAA transfer portal has been loaded with more than 1,000 players for much of the spring.
UNM lost one starter, Ahlise Hurst, who later signed with Oregon. Reserves Corina Carter (Virginia), Autumn Watts (McNeese State), Azaria Robinson (Arkansas Little Rock) and Celine Dupont (Evansville) also opted to play elsewhere next season.
With three scholarships open, Bradbury said he may add another player or two for 2021-22. UNM could use additional height as Anderson, McGruder and Parkinson are the only posts currently on the roster.