On Monday, the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team will play in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament against San Jose State.
UNM (22-9), after a 10-8 performance in the conference this season, entered the tournament as the sixth seed, whereas the Spartans are the eleventh seed—the lowest of all seeds in the tournament.
The winner of the matchup between UNM and SJSU (7-22, 4-14 MW) will then move on to play third seeded Wyoming on Tuesday, since they locked in a bye for the first round.
Entering Monday’s first round tip-off, the Lobos have had a late trail of success. In its last two games, UNM has won both while also getting big performances from some of its players in the process.
In the Lobos’ second-to-last game against Colorado State, which was also at the Pit, UNM won 54-48 against the Rams. CSU, who lost, entered the tournament as the fifth seed. In that game, which also dubbed as senior night for a quartet of guards, Cherise Beynon led the Lobos with 20 points. Jaisa Nunn also recorded her 16th double-double that game with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
UNM played its last game of the season on the road at Fresno State last Friday. Though it took overtime to do it, the Lobos came out with a 93-89 win.
Against the Bulldogs, UNM got big performances out of three of its top scorers. Tesha Buck led the Lobos in scoring with 30 points, Beynon had a triple-double (22 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists) and Nunn recorded her 17th double-double (22 points, 11 rebounds).
Beynon, against the Bulldogs, also broke the single-season assist record.
But the Lobos’ first round opponent in SJSU hasn’t had the same run of success in conference. They have lost their last three to end the season, and a whopping 14 games in total in Mountain West play.
The Spartans’ last win came over Nevada on Feb. 21 at home, 57-54. Their three losses to end the season were against at San Diego State and Utah and then at home against Air Force.
In the regular season, Nunn and Beynon were two of UNM’s most reliable scoring options. Nunn averaged 16.6 points and Beynon averaged 16.5.
Buck also averaged in double figures at 14.4 points per game.
Nunn, however, was also UNM’s best rebounder. She averaged 10.2 rebounds per game.
SJSU’s best offensive threat comes in the likes of Myzhanique Ladd and Taylor Turney. Ladd averaged 13.3 points a game during the regular season, while Turney led the real with 13.4 points.
This season UNM averaged 80.5 points per game while SJSU averaged 69.3.
In rebounding, UNM also leads SJSU. The Lobos average 40.3 to the Spartans’ 37.2.
Tip-off for the match between UNM and SJSU is on Monday, Mar. 5 at 8 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.