March 16, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico women's basketball team will be in Tucson, Arizona, Saturday night for the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Lobos first round opponent is the Florida Gators from the SEC. The two teams met in the first round just two years ago in Albuquerque. Tip-off from the McKale Center on Saturday, March 18, is approximately 8:30 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2 and ESPNU.
THE FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS: New Mexico the No. 11 seed will open the first round of the Albuquerque Region with the No. 6 seed Florida Gators in Tucson, Arizona. The Lobos earned an at-large bid from the Mountain West Conference, while the Gators earned an at-large bid out of the Southeastern Conference. In the other first round game the No. 3 seed Baylor Bears, who earned an at-large bid out of the Big 12, will play the No. 14 seed Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, with an automatic bid as the Big Sky Tournament champions.
SCOUTING THE LOBOS: UNM is 21-9 on the season and finished tied for third in the conference at 11-5. The Lobos have wins over Oral Roberts in the first round of the preseason WNIT, Cal in the second round, at No. 12 Texas, Marist, Oklahoma State, No. 10 Minnesota, Louisiana Monroe, North Dakota State, No. 22 Utah, Wyoming, UNLV, TCU, BYU and home and away against New Mexico State, Colorado State, Air Force and San Diego State, with losses to Oklahoma twice, at No. 12 Arizona State, at TCU, at BYU, at Utah, at Wyoming, at UNLV and in the MWC Tournament to UNLV. New Mexico is led in scoring by sophomore Dionne Marsh at 15.5 ppg. Senior Abbie Letz leads the team in rebounding at 7.6 rpg., while junior Katie Montgomery leads UNM in assists at 3.4 apg.
SCOUTING THE GATORS: Florida is 21-8 overall and was 8-6 in the SEC, which tied for fifth. UF has wins over St. Francis (NY), at Seton Hall, Stetson, at Charlotte, at Temple, South Alabama, Illinois, Texas-Arlington, Florida A&M, Rhode Island, Liberty, Florida State, Alabama, at Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Auburn, at Kentucky, at Mississippi State, LSU, at Tennessee and in the SEC Tournament to Mississippi State, with losses at Florida State, Kentucky, at Arkansas, South Carolina, at Auburn, home and away to Georgia and in the second round of the SEC Tournament to Kentucky. The Gators are led in scoring by senior Dalila Eshe at 14.1 ppg. Leading UF in rebounding is senior Brittany Davis at 7.2 rpg. and senior Sarah Lowe leads them in assists at 3.9 apg.
THE COACHES: UNM is led by head coach Don Flanagan who in his 11th season at New Mexico. Flanagan is 238-103 at UNM. Florida is under the direction of Carolyn Peck who is in her fourth season at UF and sixth season overall. Peck is 63-53 at the helm of the Gators and 120-64 overall, with a national title at Purdue in 1999.
THE SERIES: The Lobos and Gators will meet for the third time with Florida winning the two previous games. The two teams met just two years ago in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Albuquerque, which 68-56 final. The other meeting was December 17, 2000, in Miami with a 79-58 final.