Stevens: It's Senior Day In The Pit Saturday for Sanchez' Lobos

March 8, 2013

New Mexico Lobos Women's Basketball - Mountain West - In The Pit
2 p.m. -- Air Force Falcons (4-24, 3-13) at New Mexico Lobos (15-13, 7-8 MW)
On The Air: 610-AM KNML with Joe Behrend and Nikki Heckroth-Lobato; U-Public-TV (Comcast 26) GameTracker, Game Story, Statistics, Quotes, LoboTV

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

Small soda -- $1. Hot dog -- $1. Hatch Green Chile snack mix -- $1. Ticket cost -- $3.

A New Mexico Lobos' victory over the Air Force Academy on Senior Day - priceless.

For sure, the biggest reason to hit The Pit on Saturday is to honor UNM's four seniors: Caroline Durbin, Chinyere Nnaji, Jourdan Erskine and Jayme Jackson.

And the best way to honor them is for The Pit to be packed - and maybe well fed - and helping these seniors and the rest of the Lobo team exit University Arena with a victory.

"I can't thank them enough," said Lobo Coach Yvonne Sanchez. "Jourdan, Chin and Caroline have been through the gamut. They went through the lean years. They went through the coaching change (Don Flanagan to Sanchez).

"And Jayme came here out of junior college as one of my first recruits. These girls continued to play hard through everything. They played for the front of their jersey the entire time."

These four Lobos have been warriors for UNM over the years. They total 6,500 minutes of playing time and combine for 1,610 points as Lobos. Durbin takes 979 points into the Air Force game - 21 points of joining the exclusive 1,000-Point Club.

Get Caroline the ball!

The Lobos are turning The Pit into a party scene on Saturday hoping to draw a huge crowd for UNM's final regular-season game. That might not be all that necessary. The Lobos continue to be the top draw in the Mountain West Conference and one of the top draws in the nation.

This is a special place to play basketball.

Still, there are some special specials. The price of admission is only $3. There will be LoboWear drawings at the Lobo Den Store. The concession stands have those specials on Lobo Dogs, sodas and that yummy Hatch Green Chili snack mix.

At halftime, the Red Hot Jumpers will astound you with their acrobatic leaps over their ropes.

Senior Jourdan Erskine

The Lobos are hoping to astound you with a few red hot jumpers of their own. New Mexico already owns a 72-67 victory over the Falcons in Colorado Springs. UNM is looking to sweep Air Force for at least three obvious reasons.

1. UNM wants to ride a two-game win streak into next week's Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas.
2. The Lobos want to give their fans a farewell victory.
3. The Lobos want to do it for their seniors.

"It's really a bid deal (to win)," said Lobo Antiesha Brown. "Our seniors have gone through a lot. It's a really big deal for us as a team to show our seniors how much we appreciate them.

"They have had it rough. We want to play hard for them as underclassmen because we hope our underclassmen play hard for us whenever it's time for our Senior Day."

The Falcons typically are an accommodating opponent to bring in on Senior Day and they will carry a 4-24 and 3-13 (MW) record into The Pit. But these Falcons do not fall over.

They shocked UNM last season snapping a 31-game skid to UNM. This year the Falcons have a win over the UNLV team that swept the Lobos and also have wins over Boise State and Nevada. They play tough - and smart - which is what you expect from a military school.

"They are really physical," said Brown. "They work out all the time so of course they are really physical. They are really good at executing their plays. They are not a very big team, so that's why they are so physical."

The Lobos have a distinct height advantage over the Falcons, but this is something the Falcons are used to. They list no player taller than 6-foot among their top eight players.

The Lobos are not a tall team, but they will have a small inside edge vs. the Falcons. Air Force got 19 points from 5-9 Alicia Leipprandt in game one and 13 points and 14 boards from the 5-10 Dymond James.

The Lobos won at Air Force by five points and that usually converts into a bigger Pit win. However, if the Lobos don't take to the court with a little fire, and if the Falcons shoot well, UNM could be in trouble. Brown expects the Lobos to have some fire in their belly.

"It's kind of a reality check," Brown said of UNM's final Pit game and the 2012-13 season winding down. "We only have (two) guaranteed games left. So, that's (two) times you have to give it your all.

"We can't have any regrets. We have to leave it all out on the floor. A win just builds momentum. Our seniors our super passionate and we love them and we have to make sure we give it our all for them."


Probable StartersHTPositionSeason Statistics
24 - Caroline Durbin 6-0Guard12.0 Pts. - 4.1 Rebs.
20 - Sara Halasz 5-11 Guard 7.5 Pts - 4.0 Rebs.
44 - Deeva Vaughn 6-0Post9.7 Pts. - 5.1 Rebs.
34 - Whitney Johnson 6-2Post5.9 Pts. - 3.0 Rebs.
12 - Bryce Owens 5-4 Guard 6.8 Pts. - 4.0 Asts.
Off The Bench HTPositionSeason Statistics
14 - Jourdan Erskine 6-0Wing2.9 Pts. - 5.0 Rebs.
15 - Antiesha Brown 5-10Guard 8.4 Pts - 2.9 Rebs
21 - Jayme Jackson 5-7Guard2.8 Pts. - 1.6 Rebs.
13 - Khadijah Shumpert 6-0Forward4.0 Pts. - 2.6 Rebs.
15 - Chinyere Nnaji 6-0Wing 1.2 Pts - 1.7 Rebs
23 - Jordyn Peacock 6-2Wing 0.9 Pts. - 1.5 Rebs.
25 - Brea Mitchell 5-10 Guard 0.6 Pts. - 0.5 Rebs.
33 - Maddie Muraida 6-2 Post0.4 Pts. - 0.4 Rebs.
11 - Alexa Chavez 6-0Forward 2.4 Pts. - 0.6 Rebs.

Coaches: Yvonne Sanchez (head), Joseph Anders, Anthony Turner, Edwina Brown.