April 10, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The New Mexico women's basketball team finished its 28th year with a 22-10 overall record, which included the first ever road win over a top-25 opponent and their first NCAA Tournament win away from The Pit. The 22-10 record also marked the 10th consecutive season of .500 or better record and the sixth consecutive season of 20 or more wins.
The Lobos began the season winning six of their first seven games and earned a spot in the top-25, which they held onto the entire season. UNM finished the non-conference portion of their schedule 10-3 with the only three losses coming to teams ranked in the top 25. The Lobos were up and down throughout conference play, but continued their dominance at home, extending their conference home winning streak to 35 games. New Mexico finished Mountain West Conference play 11-5 in a tie for third.
The MWC Tournament was held at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo., for the third straight season. The Lobos entered the tournament as the third seed for the first time in school history. The three-time defending MWC Tournament champions dropped their quarterfinal game 57-45 to UNLV ending their tournament run and a chance at the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
New Mexico would earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament as a 12th seed in the Albuquerque Regional. This was only the second time in school history the Lobos earned an at-large bid, with the first coming in 2003. The Lobos opened play in Tucson, Arizona, against the fifth seed Florida Gators. The Lobos dominated the game from the start as they upset Florida 83-59, earning their first ever NCAA Tournament win away from The Pit. The win also set up a second round match-up with the fourth seed and defending national champion Baylor Bears. The Lobos took an early lead against Baylor but the Bears fought back to take an 87-67 victory.
Individually for the Lobos, three players earned all-conference honors and head coach Don Flanagan was named WBCA Region Seven Coach of the Year for the first time in his career. Sophomore Dionne Marsh was named to the first team, junior Katie Montgomery was named to the second team and senior Abbie Letz was named to the third team.
HOME SWEET HOME: One of the great home court advantages in all of college basketball, The Pit is in year No. 28 as the home of Lobo basketball. UNM was on a 16-game home winning streak that began on December 10, 2004, with a win over Bowling Green and ended on November 16, 2005, against Oklahoma 74-63. The Lobos were 16-2 in 2005-06 and was 16-1 at home in 2004-05. Since Don Flanagan took over the coaching duties in 1995-96, the Lobos have a record of 161-32 (83.4%).
UNM had a 24-game home winning streak going between 1998-99. The Lobos started the streak on Jan. 11, 1998 by defeating Wyoming, 72-45. The streak ended when the Lobos lost to Drake in the postseason WNIT by a score of 73-60. In 2003-04 the Lobos had a nine-game winning streak at home.
IN THE POLLS The Lobos received 87 votes in the final AP Poll and 108 votes in the final USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll to earn the 24th and 21st spot, respectively. The No. 16 ranking that the Lobos received in poll eight and 16 is the highest ranking ever in school history. The third week poll marked the first time in school history that UNM was ranked in both polls at the same time and have been ranked for 16 consecutive weeks. It is the 18th time in school history that New Mexico is ranked in the AP Poll and the 17th time the Lobos have been ranked in the Coaches Poll. UNM played six teams ranked in the top-25 in 2005-06 including Texas, Minnesota, Arizona State, Utah, Oklahoma and BYU.
20 WINS AGAIN: New Mexico has now won 20 games six straight seasons as UNM finished 2005-06, 22-10. In the Flanagan era the Lobos have eight 20 wins seasons. Prior to Flanagan's arrival, UNM's highest win total was 19 in 1979-80 and the four seasons before he arrived New Mexico won a total of 14 games.
UNM AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS: The Lobos are 13-22 all-time against ranked opponents. New Mexico was 4-5 in 2005-06 and was 1-2 in 2004-05 against teams in the top-25. UNM won their first ever road game against a top-25 team last season with a 76-68 win at No. 12 Texas on November 18, 2005, and also defeated the second highest ranked team in school history with a 62-44 win over No. 10 Minnesota. The highest ranked team the Lobos have ever defeated is No. 9 Utah on January 29, 1998. New Mexico the last five seasons is 9-12 against ranked foes.
ATTENDANCE NUMBERS: The Lobos ranked fourth in attendance in 2005-06 averaging 10,354 a game. New Mexico trailed Tennessee (15,356), Texas Tech (11,934) and Connecticut (11,764). UNM had the fifth, eighth and 15th largest crowds of the season with 17,017 for UNLV, 15,119 verses BYU and 13,567 against Oklahoma.
WINNING AT HOME IN THE MWC: The Lobos have won 35 consecutive Mountain West Conference games at The Pit, with the last loss coming January 6, 2002, against UNLV. In a survey among NCAA Division I teams only Stanford (46) has a longer home conference-winning streak. In 2005-06 New Mexico had a winning margin of 24.1 points in eight MWC home games. In the history of the MWC, UNM is 45-4 at home.
MWC HONORS: New Mexico had one player on each of the Mountain West Conference's three all-conference teams in 2006. Sophomore Dionne Marsh was selected to the first team after being selected the third team last season and the preseason all-conference team. Junior Katie Montgomery was named to the second team after being named honorable mention last year. Finally senior Abbie Letz was named to the third team for her first postseason honor.
LOBOS ON TELEVISION: New Mexico had eight games televised in 2005-06, including three on the ESPN networks. UNM also had three games on CSTV and two games locally on UPN 50. In 2004-05 UNM had a school record 11 games televised. Over the last two years the Lobos are 13-6 in televised games.
MARSH AT THE FOUL LINE: Sophomore Dionne Marsh holds the single season record at UNM for free throws made and broke her own record for attempts in a season. Marsh broke the records at home against Air Force on Feb. 22, 2006. In 2004-05, Marsh set the all-time UNM mark for free throw attempts in a season with 193 and was third in free throws made at 133. Marsh in 2005-06 was 165-228 from the line, destroying the old records of 136 made by Abby Garchek and 193 attempted.
MONTGOMERY FULL TIME: Junior Katie Montgomery played at least 35 minutes in 20 of the 32 games in 2005-06. Montgomery played all 40 minutes in nine games and played all 55 minutes in the triple overtime game. Prior to 2005-06, Montgomery played 40 minutes only twice. Montgomery averaged a team-high 35.6 minutes a game in 2005-06.
FALL ACADEMICS: The women's basketball team had their second highest GPA ever in the Fall of 2005 with a 3.48. The 3.48 was the highest among all UNM athletic teams and it was the first time that the women's basketball team had the highest GPA among all Lobo teams. The combined GPA for New Mexico athletes was a 3.04 marking the seventh consecutive semester that they had a 3.0 or better.
MONTGOMERY AMONG NCAA ELITE: Junior guard Katie Montgomery finished among the NCAA's best in a couple of categories in 2005-06. Montgomery was second in 3-point field goal percentage at 47.8 percent (75-157) with a minimum of two made a game. Montgomery trailed Julie Larsen of Utah at 50.4 percent (69-137). In assists-to-turnover ratio Montgomery was fourth at 2.64, with the leader, Alisa Kresge of Marist at 3.44. Finally, Montgomery was 47th in 3-point field goals made per game at 2.3.
BRIODY AT THE LINE: Junior guard Julie Briody had a streak of 35 consecutive made free throws dating back to Feb. 8, 2006, in the first half against Colorado State and ended in the second half against BYU on March 4, 2006. The school record for consecutive free throws made is being researched. Briody finished 2005-06 ranked eighth in the country in free throw percentage at 89.5 percent.
FOUR IN DOUBLE FIGURES: UNM had four players score in double figures in four consecutive games from December 9-30, 2005 (Louisiana Monroe, North Dakota State, New Mexico State and Oklahoma), which marks the first time this has happened in the Don Flanagan era. The last time New Mexico had three consecutive games of four double figure scorers was November 29-December 3, 2002 against William & Mary, Kent State and New Mexico State. In 2005-06 the Lobos had four double figure scorers in 10 games.
NOT 1, NOT 2, BUT 3: The triple overtime game against New Mexico State on December 21, 2005, was the first in UNM history. The Lobos last played an overtime game on March 22, 2003 and last played a double overtime game February 24, 1996. New Mexico is 11-8 in overtime games.