December 18, 2004
The noise blared from speakers at the Arizona State student recreation complex this week.
ASU women’s basketball senior guard Carrie Buckner described the loud, almost indistinguishable tunes as "awful, awful music."
It was played for four days of practice, through scrimmages and single-possession drills to prepare the Sun Devils for the raucous atmosphere they’ll experience against New Mexico today at Albuquerque.
The Lobos average 10,069 fans per game, compared with fewer than 2,000 per game at Wells Fargo Arena.
"We just want to use it to our advantage," Buckner said.
"That’s awesome to have an opportunity to go play in an environment like that with so many fans."
The game originally was scheduled against Iowa State, which would have allowed senior guard Kylan Loney, the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Dec. 6-12, to play in her hometown of Ames. Iowa State cancelled, however, and the Sun Devils were able to pick up a game at New Mexico.
ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said playing the Lobos, which have won the Mountain West Conference the last two years, will be similar to going against a Pac-10 opponent, not only in atmosphere, but also in their style of play.
"It’s like a Pac-10 team, you can’t just guard two people; it’s going to be five," Turner Thorne said.
"Then they’re going to bring people off the bench that are just as good.
"I do think the players off the bench are younger and not as experienced, but they’re still good players."
Though New Mexico’s biggest offensive threat will be 6-foot-1 post Lindsey Arndt, the Lobos’ guards have relied heavily on the 3-point shot this season, averaging more than 16 3-pointers per game.
Their reliance on the outside shot could be a key to this game, whether New Mexico can attempt and hit 3-pointers or the Sun Devils’ impressive backcourt defense can keep the Lobos uncomfortable at the perimeter.
"What we do is we pressure," Buckner said. "So really, we force teams to drive or live on the pull-up (shot), so hopefully we’ll take the 3s away."
No. 23 ASU at New Mexico
When: 1 p.m. today
Where: Albuquerque, N.M.
Radio: NBC (1190 AM)
Records: Arizona State 7-1, New Mexico 6-1