Coming off of two hard fought victories against Western Michigan and a ranked Marquette team — as well as a win over NAIA school Northern New Mexico on Wednesday evening — the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team will face in-state rival New Mexico State at Dreamstyle Arena on Saturday afternoon.
During the Lobos’ win against Marquette, junior forward Jaisa Nunn scored a program record of 39 points on a 14-of-15 shooting night. More recently, though, the Lobos scored a program record in points scored in a game, when they ran past NNMC 107-66 in a victory that saw freshman guard Madi Washington score a game high of 27 points off the bench.
As for NMSU (1-1), they enter Saturday splitting their season record during their first two games. In their season opener at home, they fell to the same Western Michigan team the Lobos (3-0) played two days prior, 64-55. And in their most recent outing, the Aggies defeated UT Permian Basin, 85-58.
So far this season for UNM, the team has averaged a whopping 94.3 points per game, while holding their opponents to 76.3 points per game.
The high scoring, however, is due in part to players like Nunn and senior guards Cherise Beynon and Tesha Buck who, in three starts so far this season for all three, have led the team in scoring. Nunn is averaging 19.7 points per game, Beynon is at 16 and Buck is averaging 11.3 overall.
Though the statistics at this point in time are easily skewed, those three have been the most potent scorers for the Lobos. Buck, who is a definitive shooter from range, is shooting 40 percent from 3 in just three games this season, while also taking a team high 15 shots from there. Beynon, minus the scoring, is also getting work done as far as assists. This season she has 21 in her three starts, while also averaging 6.5 per game — third best in the Mountain West.
Nunn, it’s fair to say, has been a blessing in disguise. After suffering an ACL tear last season, she’s been impressive. On Wednesday, she only logged in 10 minutes, though that was partly due to playing a lesser opponent in NNMC.
As for the Aggies, they pose a new head coach in Brooke Atkinson who replaced Mark Trach who left for USC. They also return two starters in junior guard Brooke Salas and senior guard Zaire Williams.
Salas, a first team All-WAC player a season ago, is averaging 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Williams is averaging six points so far this season. Sophomore forward Gia Pack leads the Aggies at 12.5 points per game this season.
A year ago, the two teams split their two matchups — with both teams picking up their respective wins on home turf. Overall, though, the Lobos lead the all-time series 48-26, while posing a 22-14 record when playing down south.
Saturday’s game will see UNM wear turquoise uniforms for their Nike N7 game. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at home for the Lobos, and the game can be viewed live on the Mountain West Network.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.