Augmon brings energy to UNM women's basketball - Albuquerque Journal

Augmon brings energy to UNM women’s basketball

UNM’s Aniyah Augmon, right, drives past Lamar’s Kayla Mitchell during a Nov. 9 game at the Pit. (Mike Sandoval/For the Journal)

Aniyah Augmon is not one to sit or stand still for very long.

The University of New Mexico women’s basketball team’s high-energy freshman guard is often a blur when she’s on the court, diving for loose balls, outjumping taller players for rebounds or racing back on defense to break up an opponent’s fast break.

It doesn’t stop there.

During warmups or introductions, Augmon has been known to break out a quick dance move or two. It may come as little surprise that she’s one of the more vocal Lobos at practice.

“I’ve always had a lot of energy,” said Augmon, whose 3-1 Lobos will host Houston Baptist (3-1) on Tuesday at the Pit. “My teammates tell me to keep bringing the energy and I know I need to provide that. It’s a big part of my game and I want to play to my strengths.”

Fans have quickly come to appreciate the 5-foot-8 Augmon’s non-stop hustle, even though she’s clearly still learning on the job. Twice in UNM’s first three games, Augmon turned the ball over on offense only to get it right back with a steal.

“She’s a really good defender,” Lobos coach Mike Bradbury said. “We’re not relying on Aniyah’s offense at this point, but she’s earning minutes with her defense and how hard she competes.”

Such was clear in a recent game against Prairie View A&M, when a 25-point UNM lead dwindled to 10. Bradbury promptly sent four starters back onto the court to restore order — along with Augmon.

“She deserved to be out there,” he said.

The learning process is in its early stages for Augmon, a San Jose, California, native who is a cousin of former UNLV and NBA star Stacey Augmon. Bradbury has pulled the freshman aside more than once to correct missed assignments, particularly on the offensive end of the court.

Still, Augmon gives UNM needed quickness and ball-handling off the bench, and Bradbury believes her offensive game will flourish in time.

“It’s not like she can’t score,” he said, “she can, especially in transition. It’s just that she’s usually our fifth option on offense right now, so points are really just a bonus.”

For the moment, Augmon is focused on doing whatever type of dirty work is needed to help her team. She averages 4.3 rebounds per game (third best on the squad) and shares the team lead in steals with Shaiquel McGruder (8 apiece).

“Rebounds and steals are just about want,” Augmon said. “I know we’re at our best in transition so if I can get a defensive rebound or a steal, that helps my team. I just look at it like, ‘That’s my ball and I want to go get it.’ ”

Senior Antonia Anderson smiled when asked about Augmon’s game and her infectious personality.

“Oh, Aniyah’s got personality. She’s my dawg,” Anderson said. “We all love her energy. She plays hard every day, whether it’s practice or a game.”

As for the dance moves and her boundless enthusiasm, Augmon says they’re just part of the package.

“That’s part of the reason I came here,” she said. “In this program, we’re able to showcase our personalities a little bit as long as we work hard and pay attention. That definitely works for me.”

UNDER PRESSURE: UNM spent considerable time working on its press offense Monday after coughing up 34 turnovers in Saturday’s loss at Houston.

Bradbury expects the Lobos to face more full-court pressure against Houston Baptist, which has forced 24.8 turnovers a game this season.

“They’ll press us and try to score in transition,” Bradbury said of the Huskies. “We’ve made some adjustments in our scheme but mostly we just have to be better. I expect us to be better.”

UNM’s defense will be focused on HBU guard Timia Jefferson, who was named Southland Conference Player of the Week on Monday.

Jefferson scored 37 points in her team’s two wins last week and went 13-for-13 from the foul line in a victory over Hartford.

UNM’s Aniyah Augmon (12) celebrates with her teammates after the Lobos’ win over Prairie View A&M on Nov. 16 at the Pit. (Mike Sandoval/For the Journal)

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