The University of New Mexico women's basketball team had been receiving votes in the Coaches Poll for several weeks. Now, the Lobos are getting some recognition with some nods to crack the AP Top 25 Poll.
New Mexico (17-2, 7-1 MW) already have a better record than over half of the schools in the Top 25, and have a chance to put another quality win under its belt if the Lobos can take down the Fresno State Bulldogs on Saturday.
UNM has won 16 of its last 17 games and is currently riding a five-game win streak dispatching of some of the conference's tougher opponents.
Head coach Mike Bradbury said he believed his team might get some more consideration and has a chance to break into the rankings, but it isn't something he and his players have spent a lot of time focusing on.
He said the task at hand — as is always the case — is to direct the team's time and energy into preparing for its next opponent.
Fresno State enters the contest with a 6-2 record in conference play and is 13-6 overall. The Bulldogs had won seven of their last eight games before getting tripped up at home Wednesday night in a 63-56 loss to the Wyoming Cowgirls.
The loss was just the second home defeat for Fresno State, but the Bulldogs won't enjoy the comforts of Save Mart Arena on Saturday. Instead they will be visitors in a "Pack The Pit" game and be tasked with trying to improve on a .500 record (4-4) in away games.
Bulldog senior guard Candice White, a prolific scorer and standout in the Mountain West conference, could play a big role in the game. She has averaged 19.2 points per game this season — hitting double digits in all but one game this year and has scored 20 or more in five of her last six.
Maddi Uti and Aly Gamez also boast double digit scoring averages, contributing 11.5 and 10.6 points per game, respectively.
But the Lobos counter with three players who have been solid scorers all season all well. Senior post Jaisa Nunn has registered a team-high 15.3 points per contest, while Aisia Robertson's 14.6 and Jayla Everett's 14.2 points lead a balanced scoring attack for UNM.
The Lobos should be in good shape if they are able to dictate the pace of the game and play fast, while limiting turnovers. UNM has reigned in its turnover problem a little bit, committing 17.1 per game for the season while still maintaining a nearly 1:1 assist-turnover ratio.
But the team has seemingly found a penchant for cashing in on turnovers it forces its opponents to make, scoring 8.5 more points off turnovers per game on average.
The Lobos could potentially get a lift from its bench as well, but the game could come down to which team gets hotter from beyond the arc. Both teams enjoy shooting the 3-ball and hit about eight of them per contest.
Saturday's game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. tip time and will be broadcast on the Mountain West Network. It also serves as the team's Domestic Violence Awareness Game, as well as Letterman Day — in which several former Lobos are expected to be recognized.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball and baseball and contributes content for various other sports as well. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Robert_Maler.