Coming off an exhibition loss against Division I University of Arizona, the Mustang Women's Basketball team look to capitalize on their strong performance as they travel to Portales for a Conference Challenge. The Mustangs will face off against former Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference foes, Fort Lewis College, Friday at 4:30 and New Mexico Highlands, Saturday at 5:30 p.m (MST) in Greyhound Arena on the campus of Eastern New Mexico.
Despite dropping the first matches of the season, the Lady Mustangs kept up against their Division I opponents. The Mustangs opened the season at the University of Texas-El Paso falling 65-44, but outscored the Miners 15-12 in the third quarter, and kept it close with the Wildcats in the second falling 41-78.
Transfers, Sara Lopez (El Paso, Texas/Horizon High School) (New Mexico State) and Paulina Rodriguez (Chihuahua, Mexico/Montverde Academy ) (Weber State) made themselves known early on. Against, UTEP the Rodriguez scored a team high 17 points, shooting 6-12 and 5-11 behind the arc. Lopez added nine, while grabbing seven rebounds and two steals and dishing out three assists. Returning for her sophomore season, Cassandra Vickery (Tularosa, NM/Tularosa) picked up right where she left off contributing 17 points in the loss to University of Arizona.
New Mexico Highlands will open the 2018-19 season this weekend. Last season the Cowgirls finished 4-22 overall and 2-19 in conference play with wins over, Adams State, Western State- Colorado, University of the Southwest and the Mustangs. In the preseason poll, the Cowgirls came in at #16 returning leading scorer Ari Baca who averaged 11.6 points per game. Baca also led the team in rebounds, tallying 121 last season for a 4.8 average per game. Last year's meeting with the Mustangs in Silver City had Highlands take home a 60-56 win.
The Skyhawks of Fort Lewis College also enter the weekend playing for the first time after a 20-9 record and 6th place finish last season in the RMAC. The Skyhawks were projected to finish eighth in the preseason poll.
They return Kayla Herrara who finished third in points per game with 9.4, and led the team in steals with 53. Redshirt sophomore, Jordan Carter contributed 5.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 12 blocks.
Head Coach Jason Flores will enter his seventh season with a 110-60 record, averaging 20 wins with the Skyhawks over the past three years.