A fairy tale ending carry UNM’s three seniors into the NCAA tournament to bid farewell to their collegiate careers is out of the question. However, individual milestones prove there is still a lot to play for their final stretch on the hardwood.
Wednesday will be the last night senior setter Hannah Johnson steps onto the court in Johnson Center. She currently resides in second place in program history on the all-time assists list. The senior has 4,046, just 128 behind Jade Anderson. The setter is also within striking distance of another UNM milestone as she is just 31 digs away from claiming 1,000 digs.
“Hannah’s provided a lot of the leadership in that group,” head coach Jeff Nelson said at Tuesday’s media luncheon. “Everybody knows that. She’s going to be missed for that.”
Johnson isn’t the only Lobo with a chance to make a stand atop the Lobo record book. Skye Gullatt is just 22 blocks away from the program record as she currently resides 17th in Mountain West history and has the 15th most among active NCAA athletes.
Nelson has talked all season about the athleticism Gullatt has brought to New Mexico being a rather undersized middle blocker at just 5-feet and 10-inches.
Henderson joined the Lobos late in her collegiate tenure after a stint at Grossmont Community College, but has made a significant impact after moving from Alabama to Grossman before finishing her career at UNM as a middle blocker.
While New Mexico will be fighting to stay among the top half of the conference with an 8-7 record (15-13 overall), Utah State is in search to harness some wins sitting at the bottom of the conference standings.
The Aggies managed to string two wins together in conference play with the squad’s 6-23 record (2-13 MW). But for Nelson, the light will shine on his group of departing seniors.
“We’re really going to focus on our side. It’s senior night,” Nelson said. “We’re going to let those kids go out and play good ball and do good things.”
Although the Lobos are no longer in the running for a title bid, or even a third place finish in a less than ideal season, Nelson said he hopes to generate a solid crowd to wave his seniors off in grand fashion.
“All three of those kids have had great careers here and we’ll look forward to celebrating them on senior night,” Nelson said.
Liam Cary-Eaves is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @Liam_CE.
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