Open Announce

UNM Hosts San Diego Sunday in WNIT Second Round


Broadcast Information
WATCH: Mountain West Network
RADIO: Lobo Radio Network
(KKOB flagship in Albuquerque)
Play-by-Play: J.J. Buck
Nikki Heckroth-Lobato

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.– Postseason basketball continues in The Pit on Sunday as the Lobo women’s basketball team hosts San Diego in the second round of the WNIT.

Tip is set for 2 p.m. with tickets available to purchase (link above). For those unable to attend, the game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network with radio and live stats also available to follow along.

The Lobos advanced to the second round of the WNIT after defeating Grand Canyon at home on Wednesday 92-72. Wednesday was the fourth time this season that New Mexico has scored 90-plus points, but the first time since 2019 that UNM has had three 20-point scorers. LaTascya Duff recorded a season- and game-high 27 points, making seven three-pointers for the second time this season, followed by Jaedyn De La Cerda with 22 points with four three-pointers. Shaiquel McGruder finished with 20 points, with De La Cerda, Duff and McGruder all making nine baskets in the game. McGruder was also a force defensively with six steals. LaTora Duff tallied a near triple-double with a game-high 13 assists, the third time this season that the Lobo point guard dished out double-digit assists, and grabbed a game- and career-high nine rebounds to go with eight points.

UNM assisted on 27 of its 34 baskets with seven different Lobos recording at least one assist and the three-pointers were falling with UNM finishing with 14 made three-pointers, shooting 46.7 percent from three and 51.5 percent from the floor.

Wednesday’s win against Grand Canyon set some postseason records as well, with the 27 assists and 14 three-pointers setting the record. The 92 points were the second-most scored and the 34 made field goals tied the program record (last done against Rice in 2018). LaTora’s 13 assists set the program postseason record and McGruder’s six steals ranked second in individual steals in a postseason game. LaTascya’s 27 points ranked as the third-most points scored by a player in a postseason game. Further history was made as a team, as the Lobos set the program record for most three-pointers in a season with 326 (and counting) following the 14 on Wednesday.

The Lobos will be playing San Diego for the third time in program history, but the first time since 2004, after USD beat California Baptist 76-67 in the first round. USD defeated California Baptist behind four double-digit scorers with Steph Gorman leading with 22 points. Gorman also had nine steals and five assists in the game, game highs in both categories.
San Diego enters Sunday’s game 17-14 on the season, winning three of its last four, and went 8-9 in the West Coast Conference, finishing sixth. The Toreros share three common opponents with the Lobos, all MW teams, as USD beat Air Force (52-46), Fresno State (68-64) and San Diego State (63-51).

San Diego has two players scoring in double figures, led by Sydney Hunter (11.5) and Gorman (10.7). Hunter also leads the team in rebounds (197) and rebounds per game (6.4), with Gorman leading in steals at 78 (2.6 per game). Kendall Bird leads with 16 blocks on the season (0.5 per game) and Jordyn Edwards is the leader in assists with 103 (4.0 per game).
In their 31 games, only two players have started all 31 in Hunter and Bird, with Gorman starting 27 of the 30 games she has played in and Kiera Oakry starting 26 of the 27 games she’s played in.

Among the WCC, USD was eighth in scoring offense (67.3 points per game), and seventh in field-goal percentage (40.6) and three-point field-goal percentage (31.5). USD does rank first in the NCAA in steals (406), second in steals per game (13.1) and seventh in turnovers forced. Gorman is 25th in the NCAA in steals and 27th in steals per game.

Much like Wednesday’s matchup, San Diego provides a contrast in scoring, while UNM is averaging 76.8 points per game on the season, ranking 15th in the NCAA in scoring offense, USD is averaging 67.3 points per game and holding opponents to 65.4 points per game. It will also be the second-straight opponent that leads the NCAA in steals, with USD swapping places with GCU for the national leader in steals.

For UNM, there are some trends to take note of. The first is the number 80, with the Lobos 10-0 on the season when scoring between 80 to 90 points and 13-0 when scoring more than 80 points. If the Lobos can dictate their style of play and build a lead, the Lobos are 21-2 when leading after the first quarter, 20-2 when leading at the half and 19-0 when leading after the third quarter. Adding to that, the Lobos are outscoring their opponents by a combined margin of 253 points in the first and second quarter and have their highest point production in the fourth quarter with 670 points. One final note of importance: UNM is 16-1 at home this season, and ranks 15th in the NCAA in attendance this season with 70,111 fans – an average of 4,382 fans a game, while USD is 9-6 on the road this season.

De La Cerda has reached double figures in 26 games, McGruder in 23 games, LaTora in 21 games, Antonia Anderson in 15, LaTascya in 18, and Paula Reus in eight games. LaTora has scored in double figures in five of the last six games, LaTascya in four of the last five, McGruder in six of the last eight games and De La Cerda in 11 of the last 12 games. De La Cerda also has had five 20-plus point performances in the last seven games with 22 points, 24 points and 26 points in three of the last four games. The Lobos have had a player score 20-plus points 26 times this season, including one in the last nine games and 10 of the last 11 games.

The Lobos enter the second round with 25 wins, and with a win against San Diego on Sunday, would tie the program record for single-season wins. UNM has won 26 games just two other times in program history, the last time being the 2004-05 season (26-5). The other time was the 1997-98 season (26-7).

The winner of Sunday’s game will advance to face the winner of Oregon State and Portland in the third round slated for March 23-26.