Just last week, after the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team lost in its quarterfinals match to Wyoming, the second year Lobo coach Mike Bradbury assured everyone that his team, indeed, would make the WNIT.
Though at the time it wasn’t a lock, being the selection wasn’t until this Monday, and his team was the sixth-seed in the Mountain West Tournament.
But, it seems, he was right.
On Thursday, the Lobos will host Saint Mary’s at Johnson Center in the first round of the WNIT.
The change of venue is due to conflict with a PBR event happening at the Pit next week.
Nonetheless, UNM still has the home court advantage.
For the Lobos, the selection to the WNIT was their first since the 2009-10 season when they lost to Oregon in the second round (they had defeated SMU 66-51 in round one). It’s also their sixth WNIT overall.
In its postseason appearances, the Lobos are 14-15 overall. UNM also appeared in a WNIT championship game way back in 2001 and, in its last five appearances, has put together a 10-5 record.
The Gaels (22-10,13-5) finished second in the West Coast Conference to Gonzaga.
Most recently, the Lobos are coming off of a loss to the Cowgirls in the MWT while Saint Mary’s also fell in the quarterfinals of its conference tournament to seventh-seeded Pacific, 77-73.
In previous years, the two teams have met just once with UNM edging Saint Mary’s 71-60 on Nov. 3, 1996.
The WNIT will also have appearances from teams the Lobos have faced this season. Mountain West opponents UNLV, Wyoming and Colorado State were invited to play in the tournament, as well as New Mexico State. NMSU and Wyoming will face off on Thursday March 15, at 7 p.m.
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.