The New Mexico State women's basketball program will play in its 500th home game inside the Pan American Center Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. against rival UTEP. The game marks the first of a home-and-home series between the teams as part of the 2011-12 SONIC® ® America's Drive-In® Battle of I-10. The game is the third in six days for the Aggies. NM State dropped its home opener to Idaho State Monday 59-42 after a 63-62 win at Houston Friday to open the season. Senior Tabytha Wampler led the Aggies in both games with a double-double in each.
UTEP opened the year against Idaho State and defeated the Bengals 79-63 in El Paso Saturday afternoon. The Bengals led the Miners 35-26 but UTEP exploded for 53 points in the second half to cruise to victory.
The game will be broadcast live on Aggie Vision with Kyle Doperalski and Melanie Viramontes. The game will also be carried on WatchESPN and ESPN Full Court. Live updates via Twitter are available by following @NMStateAggies. Live stats and video stream links can be found at NMStateSports.com.
SONIC® ® America's Drive-In® Battle of I-10
The Aggies-Miners battle is the 77th contest all-time between the programs and the first basketball game this season to bear the name of the I-10 Rivalry's new title sponsor, SONIC® America's Drive-In® The two-year partnership struck last year between the neighboring universities and SONIC Drive-Ins in El Paso and Las Cruces encompasses matchups in football, men's basketball and women's basketball.
Aggies and Miners Continue Longest Series in School History
NM State's ongoing series with UTEP is the most historic of any series in program history. Wednesday's meeting with the Miners will be the 77th game between the two schools with the Aggies leading the series 46-30.
Last year the teams split the season series as each team won on the opposing team's court. UTEP opened 2011 by defeating the Aggies 74-67 on Jan. 2 inside the Pan Am in the latest battle snapping a four-game Aggie win streak in the series.
Last November, NM State knocked off the Miners in overtime in El Paso, 80-75. The win marked the first time NM State recorded four consecutive wins in the series since 2002-03 when they also strung together four victories.
In 2010, the Aggies swept the Miners for the first time since the 2002-03 season. In 2008-09, NM State stopped a seven-game losing streak to UTEP with a 77-67 victory at home. Despite the recent NM State win streak, UTEP has won 13 of the past 22 battles dating back to 2000.
The Miners and Aggies have met twice yearly in the past 37 years of NM State women's basketball program history. The border rivals met an additional time on two occasions, in the regular seasons of 1974-75 as well as the 1984-85 L'eggs Classic, to account for the previous 76 meetings.
Scouting the Miners
The UTEP Miners (1-0), of Conference USA, share its only opponent with NM State in this early season. The Miners knocked off Idaho State 79-63 in El Paso on Saturday in their home opener. ISU beat NM State two days later in the Aggies' home opener, 59-42.
Five Miners scored in double-digits in their victory. Senior forward Gloria Brown posted her ninth career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore forward Kayla Thornton added 12 tallies as did junior transfer Melisa Mendes. Senior Kim Smith and freshman Chrishauna Parker each registered 10 points off the bench.
Despite trailing 35-26 at halftime, UTEP exploded for 53 points in the second half and held Idaho State to just 15.4 percent shooting in the second half. The Miners did not allow a three-point basket to fall out of the Bengals' 11 attempts. UTEP lost the rebounding battle 45-38 but forced 27 ISU turnovers and scored 28 points off of the visitors' miscues.