Lobo Women's Basketball Battles Arizona in Tucson Wednesday
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/07/2009

Dec. 7, 2009

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    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The New Mexico women's basketball team faces a tough Arizona team Wednesday in Tucson. The game is set for a 6 p.m. MT tip inside the McKale Center. UNM (5-3) will face the Wildcats (5-1) for the 15th time in school history and try to snap a one-game skid. The game will be broadcast live on 610 AM The Sports Animal with gametracker and live video streaming on GoLobos.com.

    Wednesday's women's basketball game between Arizona and New Mexico will be available via video streaming online at GoLobos.com. The Arizona athletics department will produce the video and air through the CBS College Sports online platform called All-Access. Video links can be found at both sites GoLobos.com and/or ArizonaWildcats.com.

    The series between New Mexico and Arizona is tied at 7-7. The Lobos last victory over the Wildcats was in the last game inside the McKale Center on Dec. 5, 2006. New Mexico beat Arizona 76-63 during the contest. However, UNM has lost three of the last four meetings with Arizona. The Wildcats won the last meeting on Dec. 15, 2007 in The Pit. Arizona pulled out an ugly 44-36 victory on the road.

    New Mexico is 3-3 all-time when playing the Wildcats in Tucson. Don Flanagan is 3-4 all-time against UA.

    New Mexico dropped a hard fought 65-55 decision at Texas Tech Saturday. The Lobos shot just 34.9 percent from the field and 53 percent from the free throw line. UNM trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half but rallied back late. The rally however came up short due to the strong free throw shooting down the stretch for Texas Tech. Junior Amanda Best led UNM in scoring with 14 points, while senior Valerie Kast came off the bench to score 10 points and record three blocks.

    The Lobos are 5-3 for the first time since the 2003-04 season and looking to snap a one-game skid. New Mexico has dropped two of its last three games and will close out the road non-conference schedule Wednesday at Arizona. UNM has played its last two games on the road against two rival opponents.

    Senior Amy Beggin is leading the team in scoring with 14.4 points per game. Beggin has hit 20 3-pointers this year and is leading the team in assists with 25. Sophomore Lauren Taylor is second in scoring just ahead of Sara Halasz. Taylor is averaging 10.9 points while Halasz is scoring 10.8 points per game.

    Senior Valerie Kast has dominated off the bench in the last two games. Kast has scored in double figures both games, recorded five blocks and pulled down 10 rebounds. Her season totals are 6.8 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. The 6-6 post player is getting more minutes due to her hustle and production. Starter Jessica Kielpinski is averaging five points per game and 4.5 rebounds.

    Arizona has four players averaging in double figures. Davellyn Whyte, who is the daughter of 17-year MLB veteran Devon Whyte, is leading the team in scoring with 13 points per game. White had 19 points against Nevada Friday night. Ify Ibekwe is the second leading scoring after averaging 12.5 points in six games. Ibekwe is the teams leading rebounder with 13.2 boards per game. Brooke Jackson and Soana Lucet are the only other two Wildcats scoring in double figures.

    Ibekwe leads Arizona with 12 blocks, 20 steals and 20 assists.

    Arizona has won three straight games and two of them have been in the McKale Center. The Wildcats are undefeated at home (2-0) and coming off an 84-57 rout of Nevada. UA shot 50.8 percent from the field and shot 82.6 percent from the free throw line against Nevada.

    The Wildcats are averaging 69.7 points per game and shooting 43.3 percent as a team. Arizona has only hit 31 3-pointers this year compared to 55 by New Mexico.

    Arizona defeated Nevada, 84-57, last Friday in the McKale Center. The Wildcats had four players in double figures and was led by Devellyn Whyte's 19 points. Ify Ibekwe had 12 points, five blocks and five steals against Nevada. Arizona held Nevada to 29 percent shooting but forced the Wolf Pack to the free throw line 30 times.

    New Mexico could have free throw opportunities Wednesday at Arizona. The Lobos shot 75 percent from the free throw line last year but have dropped its percentage this year to 73. Over the last two weeks including five games, UNM is shooting 65.7 percent from the charity stripe after hitting 46-of-70 shots. At Texas Tech Saturday, New Mexico hit 7-of-13 shots and against NMSU last Wednesday the Lobos hit 20-of-29.

    New Mexico head coach Don Flanagan has an overall record of 313-140 and is in his 15th year as the Lobos head man. Flanagan has taken the UNM program to the national scene and ranks as the winningest coach in New Mexico basketball history. The Lobos have reached 12 straight postseasons including eight NCAA Tournaments during Flanagan's tenure.

    Arizona is coached by Niya Butts who is in her second year. Butts guided the Wildcats to a 12-19 overall record last year in her first season as a head coach. She was an assistant at Kentucky from 2003-08 before joining the Arizona family. Butts played college ball at Tennessee under legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt. While at Tennessee, Butts won two national championships in 1997-98.

    New Mexico will return home to host Loyola Marymount at 1 p.m. MT Saturday. The Lobos will battle the Lions for the eighth time in school history. UNM holds a 5-2 series advantage against LMU. Loyola Marymount was 18-12 last year and finished fourth in the West Coach Conference. Coached by Julie Wilhoit, LMU is 4-4 heading into the week. The Lions play at Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday. The Lobos only have three non-conference games remaining on the schedule after the Arizona game.

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