Quick, name the Skyhawks second-leading scorer.
Dana Schreibvogel is easy to peg as the top scorer on the Fort Lewis College womens basketball team with her 18 points per game average.
Sharpshooting senior Abby Jackson?
While shes come on again offensively of late, its not her.
Post presence Jenna Santistevan or freshmen snipers Ashley Kuchar and Erika Richards?
All are skilled offensive players, but no.
Mary Rose Paiz.
And while it might not be much of a head-scratcher for devoted fans of the nations No. 4 team, the 5-11 junior has spent whats been a fairly quiet breakout season as a benchmark of consistency. She posts 11.6 points and a team-leading 7.8 rebounds per game, not with a great amount of flash or flare, but rather with a grit and tenacity built up from biding her time as a role player.
Ive always felt like I was a person that just does the little things, like always running around and getting the boards, Paiz said Thursday after practice.
On a team thats every bit as successful but fairly different stylistically from last years national runner-up, Paizs strength still lies in the same realm that made her a key cog as a reserve one year ago versatility.
Offensively, the player radio announcer Ken Flint appropriately dubbed Lunchbox Mary can use her 5-11 frame to bang in the post, while at the same time hitting 32 percent from 3 thanks in part to a recent streak of strong shooting.
And while perhaps not the most athletic Skyhawk, Paiz has the unique combination of size and quick feet to allow her to defend adeptly both in the post and on the perimeter, an asset her coach views as invaluable.
We can play her in a lot of different spots, FLC head coach Mark Kellogg said. She can do some different things. Shes shooting the ball now with confidence and consistency. ... When she added that to her arsenal, now youve got to guard her on the perimeter.
Paizs biggest contribution in helping guide the Skyhawks to a remarkable 20-1 record has come on the glass.
The Albuquerque native is fourth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in rebounds per game, and she said banging around for rebounds has been her favorite part of the game since her days at St. Pius X High School, where she helped her squad to state titles in 2006 and 08.
Ive always loved rebounding, she said with a smile. Reboundings my favorite thing.
And when her versatility and rebounding tenacity arent giving opponents headaches, Paiz has a penchant for solving off-the-court problems of the mathematical variety.
The RMAC All-Academic first teamer said she got her love of numbers from her father, Bill, who is an engineer.
Its weird ... I just sit there smiling while Im doing my math homework. I just love it. ... Just give me basketball, some math, and Im good, Paiz said.
Santistevan, one of Paizs roommates, said its not uncommon for her to come home to find Paiz with headphones in, nose buried in a math textbook, tackling numbers with as much fervor as she racks them up in the rebounding column.
Shes in the zone. ... Its pretty amazing, because I couldnt be dedicated to something like that that takes so much homework, Santistevan said.
For Paiz, equations and arithmetic provide puzzles that appeal to her nature.
The real puzzle, however, is how opponent after opponent appears to fail to game plan for FLCs second-best scorer. Not that Kellogg minds.
Shes the kid that, to me, everybody kind of forgets about ... Shes a rock; shes a glue. Shes all those kinds of things for our team, he said.