Emotions will be running high tonight on Bob King Court as the New Mexico women’s basketball team faces San Diego State in the team’s regular season finale at The Pit.
The contest will be the last home game for seniors Sara Halasz and Deeva Vaughn.
“It’s going to be emotional,” Halasz said. “No matter what we’re going to go all out and give our hearts.”
Head coach Yvonne Sanchez said she is excited to see where the two seniors will end up down the road.
“Sara and Deeva have represented this university as good as any player that has ever come out of here,” Sanchez said. “It’s going to be really neat to see them in about 10 years, (or) five years…They both are going to be really successful.”
Sanchez said she is proud of how the two seniors have dealt with hardships but concluded that both Vaughn and Halasz are ready to move on with their lives.
“It’s hard to say goodbye to people who have given everything that they’ve had in their time here,” Sanchez said. “What Sara and Deeva have done through adversity has gone through more than any other player that has gone through here.”
When asked what to anticipate in senior night, Vaughn said “Just playing my heart out, doing the best that I can.”
Halasz and Vaughn are both redshirt seniors as Halasz had to overcome injuries throughout the latter part of her career. Halasz has played her entire career at UNM after finishing up her high school basketball career in Ohatchee, Ala.
Vaughn, an Albuquerque native, attended Highland High School where she claimed player of the year during the 2005-2006 season. Vaughn started her collegiate career at Northern Oklahoma College’s Enid branch before making the trip back to Albuquerque as a redshirt junior two seasons ago.
Despite being an emotional night for the departing seniors, the final game of the season is going to have long-lasting implications in terms of where the team will be seeded during the Mountain West Championships.
Sanchez said that it really doesn’t matter who her squad plays, although she would like her squad to head into the conference tournament with a winning streak. UNM hasn’t been able to put together back-to-back wins in almost two months after beating Wyoming and San Jose State, on Jan. 8 and Jan. 11.
“It could be Utah State or UNLV,” Sanchez said. “It’s tournament time, it doesn’t matter who we play.”
UNM (10-18 overall) holds the tie-breaker against San Jose State, a team that currently sits dead even with UNM with 5 conference wins along with 12 losses. Therefore, if UNM is victorious tonight against SDSU or if the Spartans fall against Fresno State, the Lobos will claim the number nine seed and will face Utah State.
However, a UNM loss and a win from the SJSU will drop the Lobos to a number 10 seed where they will face UNLV in the Mountain West tournament.
In either scenario, UNM will be playing in Las Vegas, Nev., on Monday in the first round of the MW tourney.