Aug. 9, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- University of New Mexico women's basketball coach Don Flanagan recently announced the Lobos' 2010-11 schedule. UNM will host seven non-conference games and one exhibition game in the newly renovated Pit before jumping into the highly competitive Mountain West Conference season. Currently, the Lobos are scheduled for five nationally televised games during the year with the possibility of more added to the schedule as the start of the season gets closer.
The 2010-11 schedule features a 2010 NCAA Women's Final Four semifinalist and the 2010 Women's National Invitational Tournament champion among the 12 teams on the schedule that advanced to the postseason last year. The Mountain West Conference posted one of its most successful postseasons with six teams, including the Lobos, advancing to the NCAA and WNIT Tournaments in 2010.
"This is the most aggressive schedule that we have put together in my tenure," said Flanagan. "With the combination of a successful season and a tough schedule, this positions our team for an opportunity to play in the postseason."
The Lobos will spend the month of November showing off The Pit's $60 million renovation. After an exhibition game on Nov. 9 against local Division II Western New Mexico, UNM will host Texas Tech, a 2010 WNIT participant, during a week of The Pit's re-opening celebrations on Friday, Nov. 12. The second week of the season will feature Big West opponent UC Irvine on Nov. 15, followed by 2010 WNIT champion California on Nov. 20.
New Mexico will play San Francisco on Nov. 26 in the first round of the Lobos' annual Thanksgiving Tournament. Big 12 foe and 2010 NCAA Second Rounder Oklahoma State and Atlantic 10 member Rhode Island will duke it out for the opportunity to face the Lobos on Nov. 27.
December begins with a trip to Las Cruces on the 1st to face New Mexico State in the first round of the home-and-home series. In between match-ups against the Aggies, UNM will spend the majority of December on the road, starting with a trip to Tempe, Ariz., for the Arizona State Classic, Dec. 3-4. UNM's first round opponent will be Southland Conference tournament champion Lamar, followed by a showdown with Big West runner-up Cal Poly or host Arizona State.
The Lobos return home to host regional Pac-10 opponent Arizona on Dec. 7. The Tuesday night game in The Pit is scheduled to be televised on The Mtn. UNM gets back out on the road for two games, Final Four semifinalist Oklahoma on Dec. 12 and Conference USA foe UTEP on Dec. 20.
The non-conference portion of the schedule wraps up on December 30 with the second half of the New Mexico State series at The Pit.
"We wanted to bring in teams that give our fans an opportunity to see some strong basketball programs," said Flanagan about the strong non-conference schedule. "It also gives our players the same opportunity to go up against some strong non-conference opponents as they prepare for a competitive MWC season."
Ten of the Lobos' opponents finished the 2009-10 season ranked in the Top 100 of the NCAA RPI, with five coming from the MWC. The Lobos finished with an RPI of 75 after advancing to the Second Round of the WNIT. It was the 13th consecutive season that the Lobos have moved on to a national postseason tournament. New Mexico was 19-13 on the court in 2009-10 and was honored over the summer with the WBCA Top 25 Honor Roll award for the team's outstanding work in the classroom.
The 16-game league schedule begins on Jan. 8 in The Pit against Wyoming, followed by two games on the road at Colorado State (Jan. 12) and San Diego State (Jan. 15). Utah (Jan. 19) and UNLV (Jan. 22) will be the next foes in The Pit. It will be the Utes final regular season appearance in The Pit as members of the MWC. January finishes up on the road with a stop at TCU (Jan. 26) and BYU (Jan. 29).
UNM is currently scheduled for some TV time in February, including three games on The Mtn. in The Pit in the second half of the month. Air Force visits The Pit on Feb. 2 before the Lobos go to Wyoming for a game on The Mtn. on Feb. 8.
Colorado State will come to Albuquerque on Feb. 12, with San Diego State coming to town on Feb. 15 in front of a television audience. The Lobos last regularly scheduled trip to Utah will take place on Feb. 19, followed by a tournament warm-up game at UNLV on Feb. 23. UNM finishes up the home portion of the schedule with TCU on Feb. 26 and BYU on March 1, both on The Mtn. The regular season wraps up at Air Force on March 5.
The 2011 Mountain West Conference Tournament is set for March 8-12 in Las Vegas. New Mexico will be one of 16 host sites for the 2011 NCAA First and Second Rounds, March 19 and 21.
"We have 11 freshmen and sophomores this year so they are going to have to be ready early," said Flanagan. "The whole team is excited with the challenge the schedule presents to them this season. They have been working hard this summer and are ready to get after it."