March 19, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The New Mexico women's basketball team will travel to Eugene, Ore., Tuesday to battle Oregon on McArthur Court at 7 p.m. PST. The Lobos (19-12) face Oregon (17-15) in the second round of the WNIT. Tuesday will be the first WNIT game New Mexico has played outside the Albuquerque area. The game will be broadcast on 610 AM The Sports Animal with Joe Behrend calling the action. There will be no gametracker or video for the game.
The Lobos are 2-2 all-time against Oregon and won the last meeting. New Mexico however lost the only previous meeting in Eugene, 104-71, on Jan. 9, 1979. New Mexico defeated Oregon two seasons ago in The Pit, 65-46. Don Flanagan is 1-0 all-time against the Ducks.
New Mexico has made 13 straight postseason tournaments and will try to hit the 20-win plateau for the 10th straight year.
New Mexico advanced in the WNIT after beating SMU, 66-51, Wednesday night in The Pit. The Lobos played extremely well shooting 44.8 percent and improved to 15-0 when shooting 40 percent or better. Sophomore Sara Halasz led UNM with 17 points while sophomore Lauren Taylor chipped in 13 and senior Amy Beggin added 10. The Lobos hit eight 3-pointers against the Mustangs. The Lobo defense held SMU to 28.8 percent shooting and 0-for-17 from behind the arc. SMU managed to have four players score in double figures.
Oregon is coming off a 95-66 romping of Eastern Washington in the first round. The Ducks have scored 90 or more points seven times this year and average 81.8 points per game. Against Eastern Washington, Oregon had five players hit double figures. Micaela Cocks led the way with 16 points while Amanda Johnson chipped in 15. The Ducks made 52.2 percent of their shots and hit six 3-pointers. Oregon was 17-of-26 from the free throw line. Johnson had a double-double against Eastern Washington with 15 points and 10 rebounds. EWU shot 30.3 percent and had four ladies hit double digits.
Oregon is 13-5 at home and averaging 2,236 fans per game. The Ducks have lost seven of their last eight games including the win over Eastern Washington. Oregon was 7-11 during Pac-10 play and finished tied for sixth in the Pac-10 standings.
Taylor Lilley leads Oregon in scoring with 17.3 points per game. Lilley had nine points against Eastern Washington. Cocks is averaging 14.8 points per game and ranks second on the team. Johnson is third in scoring with 12.3 points and leads the team in rebounding with 8.5 rebounds per game. Nia Jackson is the only other Duck averaging in double figures with 10.8 points per game. The Ducks are a high-powered offensive club averaging 81.8 points per game but give up 76.8 points per game.
The winner of the New Mexico-Oregon game will face either California or the winner of the Utah-St. Mary's game. The Utah-St. Mary's game will be played Sunday at 2 p.m. PST. The third round game is TBA but scheduled between March 24-26.
The 2010 WNIT is a field of 64 with 31 automatic bids and 33 at-large. The top team of each conference that did not make the NCAA Tournament earns the automatic bid. BYU earned the automatic bid from the MWC. This is the first year the WNIT has expanded to 64 teams adding 16 more bids. This is the 13th year of the postseason WNIT. Wyoming is the only MWC team to ever win the WNIT in 2007. South Florida won last year's tournament.
New Mexico holds the all-time attendance record for the postseason WNIT. The record is 18,018 set in the championship game of 2001 when Ohio State played inside The Pit. UNM also holds the eighth and ninth spots for best attendance figures all-time in the WNIT. In 1999, UNM host Drake in the quarterfinals for the eighth best with 11,213 fans. The ninth best game is 11,090 in 2001 when the Lobos hosted Hawai'i in the semifinals. The Lobos also hold the record for most blocks in a tournament with 27.