Monday: 7 p.m., Houston (1-10) at New Mexico Lobos (5-8)
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- A new year is under way, and with it comes new challenges for the Lobo women's basketball team. In just over a week, New Mexico (5-8 overall) will open up conference play against the Mountain West's newest addition in Boise State on Jan. 11. Standing between UNM and MW action though are the Cougars out of Houston, who will travel to The Pit for a Jan. 2, 7 p.m. match-up to close out non-con play for New Mexico.
The notoriously competitive Cougars have battled through a tough schedule prior to coming to The Pit, compiling a record of 1-10 thus far. Houston's lone win of the season came at home on Dec. 10 against the neighboring Huskies of Houston Baptist. This means that UH is still looking for its first road victory of the season.
Houston will make the trip into Albuquerque well rested, to say the least. The lady Cougars have not played a game since it dropped an 85-60 decision to Washington on Dec. 18 at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Meanwhile, New Mexico has played three contests in the same span of time. The Lobos also logged a win over Houston Baptist, 65-38 in Houston. They went on to drop their Dec. 21 contest to Arizona (59-50) before hanging a loss on New Mexico State 59-58 in Las Cruces on Dec. 30.
The Lobos continue to be paced offensively by junior Caroline Durbin, who is ranked within the top five in the Mountain West in field goal percentage (no. 4 with a .493 effort) and three-point field goal percentage (no. 1 with a .545 figure from downtown). She also ranks third in the MW in total scoring with an average of 15.2 points per game. Durbin has scored in double-figures for the Lobos in 12 out of 13 contests so far.
She is aided by senior Porche Torrance, who has a double-figure scoring average of 10.3 points per game. Torrance leads the team with 8.9 rebounds per contest, and ranks in the top five of the conference in multiple categories, including blocks (tied at no. 2 with 2.3 per game) and total rebounds (no. 2 with her 8.9 statistic).
As a team, New Mexico rank in the top five in the Mountain West in multiple categories including blocks (4.9 per game) and field goal percentage (.389).
Houston is paced by senior guard Roxana Button with 18.8 points per game. Button extended her double-digit scoring streak to 11 contests with a game-high 21 points to go with six rebounds against Washington. She also chips in with an average of 3.4 rebounds per game.
Button is the only Cougar to have started all 11 games, and averages 37 minutes per contest.
Monday’s meeting will be the fifth all-time between the two teams, and will mark a tie-breaking game as the series is tied at 2-2.