Nov. 2, 2011
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- It's that time of year again. The leaves have changed colors, the air is crisp and the nights are chilly. It must be basketball season.
First-year head coach Yvonne Sanchez and the Mountain West preseason No. 4 New Mexico women's basketball team is ready for the action to begin. The Lobos host New Mexico Highlands University at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5 in exhibition play at The Pit.
The contest will be televised on My50 and can be heard through the eyes and voice of Joe Behrend on 610-AM KNML. Fans can also follow the action with live stats on GameTracker and catch LoboTV highlights, final stats and a game recap at GoLobos.com. Those attending the game can enjoy $1 hot dogs, courtesy of Sodexo.
New Mexico will be without MW preseason all-conference pick Sara Halasz, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear on Oct. 14 during a scrimmage at Lobo Howl. The injury was the second in as many seasons Halasz sustained to her right knee.
The Lobos will lean heavily on their two returning starters, seniors Lauren Taylor and Porche Torrance. Taylor started 15 games last year, averaging 8.3 points a game and leading the team with 85% accuracy from the free-throw line.
Torrance started 26 games for New Mexico and played in all 31, scoring 8.0 points per game. The senior guard/forward was named to the MW all-defensive team as a junior.
The Lobos will also call on point guard Nikki Nelson for leadership and sharp shooting. The senior is returning from a redshirt season, and is the team's most experienced at the vital point guard position. Nelson missed last season due to an ACL tear, but gained valuable experiencee in 2009-10 as a sophomore, averaging 2.3 points and 1.0 rebounds per game in 26 appearances.
Durbin appeared in all 31 of New Mexico's games last season, starting 14. The junior guard averaged 5.2 points per game. Erskine played in 27 games, averaging 1.6 points a contest, while Nnaji and Stark saw action in 20 and nine games, respectively.
New Mexico Highlands comes to The Pit with a 1-1 record in exhibition play, having routed the University of the Southwest 134-63 on Oct. 24 and losing 81-75 in overtime against New Mexico State University on Monday, Oct. 31.
The Cowgirls held a 31-30 advantage over the Aggies at halftime of Monday night's thriller and had a 55-50 lead at one point during the second half.
NMHU is led by point guard Whitney Coca. The junior recorded a double-double against the University of the Southwest, scoring 10 points and tallying 12 assists in 18 minutes of play. Coca had 18 points against NMSU. Sophomore guard Alyssa Lopez added 16 points in 25 minutes of action against the Aggies.
The Cowgirls were 14-16 overall last year and posted a 9-13 record in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
All media are encouraged to attend the joint men's and women's basketball pre-game press conference on Thursday, Nov. 3 at the Rudy Davalos Basketball Center.
Coach Alford will address the media at 2:45 p.m., and two men's players will be available around 3 p.m.
The women's practice will be open for filming from 3-3:30 p.m. with Coach Sanchez and select players available immediately following for questions regarding Saturday's game against NMHU.