Labor Day weekend was no vacation for the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team. But it certainly was productive.
Lobos coach Yvonne Sanchez, along with her staff and players, served as tour guides for two recruits over the holiday. Both have since verbally committed to play for UNM starting in 2014-15.
Neither Kenya Pye nor Jayda Bovero had been to Albuquerque prior to their recruiting visit. Pye is a 5-foot-8 guard from Tallahassee, Fla., and Bovero is a 5-11 wing from Syracuse, Utah.
“All I knew about New Mexico was it’s a lot of desert, and the men’s basketball team is usually pretty good,” Pye said in a phone interview. “But once UNM started recruiting me, I looked up the women’s team, the city. I was very intrigued.”
It was a similar journey of discovery for Bovero.
“I knew about the Pit,” she said, “and I knew New Mexico has a good medical school because that’s what I want to pursue. Other than that, I wasn’t sure what to expect.”
A Lobo weekend that included campus and facility tours, the UNM vs. UT-San Antonio football game and time spent getting to know the current women’s players proved persuasive enough.
It was a good double score for UNM, which filled two of its four open scholarship spots for 2014-15. The Lobos have 13 scholarship players on this season’s roster, including seniors Sara Halasz and Deeva Vaughn.
In Pye and Bovero, Sanchez picked up capable scorers who prefer a physical style.
Pye, who describes herself as a combo guard, features a strong midrange game and enjoys attacking the basket when she can. She averaged 15 points, six rebounds and three steals per game for Tallahassee’s Maclay High School. The points ballooned to 22 per game in postseason.
Pye was being recruited by several schools and had a scholarship offer from Alabama State, but decided the high desert was to her liking.
Bovero was being recruited by several Pac-12 schools and made visits to Seattle and San Francisco, but canceled other planned trips after visiting Albuquerque.
She has played everything from point guard to power forward in high school, where she averaged 14 points and seven rebounds per game last season. But Bovero, whose Twitter handle is LadyLebron24, sees herself as a 2- or 3-guard in college.
She laughed when asked about the LadyLeBron handle.
“I’ve had that ever since I was little,” Bovero said. “I’m a scorer, and some of my coaches said I have a LeBron aspect to my game. I don’t know, but I am very much a LeBron fan, so I just kept the nickname. I kind of like it.”