Lobos Look to Pack the Pit for Rio Grande Rivalry
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/03/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 3, 2011

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--- The New Mexico women's basketball team will host the Aggies of New Mexico State on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the first of two Rio Grande Rivalry games this season. In effort to "Pack The Pit," for Sunday's matinee game, all bench tickets will be on sale for $2.

An infamous rivalry dating back decades, the New Mexico/New Mexico State games are always highly anticipated and a regular fan-favorite in both Albuquerque and Las Cruces. Sunday's meeting will mark the 63rd meeting between the Lobos and the Aggies, with UNM leading the series 40-22. The Lobos have been victorious in the past five outings, including last year's 92-85 win on Dec. 2 and an 81-64 win on Dec. 20.

Over time, the two teams have shared control of the rivalry, with each team having respective spurts of success and struggles against the other. This year however, the rivalry has a slightly newer meaning, as both teams are led by first-year head coaches in UNM's Yvonne Sanchez and NMSU's Mark Trakh. Sunday's matchup will therefore be the first Rio Grande Rivalry game in each coach's career, making the outcome a significant one for both of them.

It is arguably an even more significant game for Sanchez, as the Lobos' new head coach has experienced the rivalry from both sides as an assistant. Sanchez coached from the Lobo bench as Don Flanagan's assistant from 2000-2011, but called herself an Aggie in the early '90s. The Albuquerque native spent six years (1993-99) on the NMSU bench as an assistant coach and saw NMSU to a 6-6 record in the rivalry during her time there. NMSU won six consecutive meetings with UNM from 1993-96 before UNM stifled the run by dishing out six straight losses over Sanchez's final three years at State.

Sanchez's Lobos are headed into Sunday's contest with a 2-5 record, coming off a heartbreaking buzzer-beater defeat at the hands of Loyola Marymount on Tuesday evening. Their record is not for lack of talent or heart though, as the Lobos rank within the top five teams in the MW in multiple categories. The team ranks first in the conference in three-point field goal percentage (.348) and second in field goal percentage (.407).

Junior Caroline Durbin continues to pace the Lobo offense, having scored in double figures in every outing this season. Most recently, she netted 24 points on LMU, and is averaging 16.9 points per game. Porche Torrance is leading the Lobos in rebounds with 8.4 per game.

Trakh's Aggies are fueled by Tabytha Wampler with 13.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. She averages 30.7 minutes of floor time per game, the most on the team. NMSU has a band of five regular starters in Wampler, Hannah Womack, Kaitlyn Soto, Jasmine Rutledge and Chrissy Fletcher. The Lobos have thus far started three regulars in Durbin, Torrance and junior Jourdan Erskine.

The Aggies are riding a six-game losing streak into Sunday's contest, most recently having dropped a road game to UTEP, 63-27. Their lone victory of the season came on the road though, against Houston (63-62) in NMSU's first regular season game.

For ticket information, please visit www.GoLobos.com or call the ticket office at 925-LOBO or 1-800-955-HOWL.