Women's Basketball Opens MWC Tourney Tuesday vs. UNM
March 7, 2011
The defending tournament champion San Diego State women's basketball team will look to make its fourth consecutive finals appearance, as the Aztecs head to Las Vegas this week for the 2011 Conoco Mountain West Conference Championships at the Thomas & Mack Center, March 8-12.
SDSU has earned the tournament's No. 6 seed and will face No. 7 seed New Mexico on Tuesday, starting at 7 p.m. PT. The winner of the first-round contest will earn the right to take on No. 3 seed Wyoming, which has a bye into the quarterfinals, on Wednesday evening. Should the Aztecs defeat the Cowgirls, they would then take on No. 2 seed TCU on Friday, starting at 2:30 p.m. The championship final tips off at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
This is the third year that the MWC women's championships has utilized this bracket format, but the first time San Diego State has not earned at least a first-round bye. The team will have to win four contests in a five-day span in order to claim the tournament crown.
The Aztecs went 3-0 at the 2010 edition, defeating Wyoming and BYU before rallying to down Utah, 70-60, in overtime for the program's first MWC title. SDSU has posted a combined 6-3 record over the last three campaigns in Las Vegas, after going 0-8 in the league's first eight years of existence.
San Diego State ended the regular season last Saturday with a disappointing 66-51 loss at Colorado State. A victory over the Rams would have put the Aztecs in a tie for fourth place in the final regular-season conference standings and given them the tournament's No. 4 seed. The good news for SDSU, however, is that the last time it earned a No. 6 seed was in 2008, when it upset No. 3 seed Wyoming and No. 2 seed TCU to make its first-ever MWC championship game appearance.
The Aztecs, who currently stand at 12-16 overall, swept the 2011 regular-season series against the Lobos, winning 56-53 in San Diego on Jan. 15, and 50-44 in Albuquerque on Feb. 15. SDSU and UNM are playing for the sixth time in Mountain West Conference tournament history with the most recent meeting coming in the 2009 championship game which the Lobos won by just a three-point margin.
An automatic bid to the NCAA tournament is on the line this week, as the Aztecs look to advance to the postseason for the third year in a row. None of Tuesday's first-round games will be televised, but fans can follow the action locally on Xtra Sports 1360AM with Chris Ello making the call. A link to live game stats will also be available on goaztecs.com.
Game No. 29 - vs. #7 New Mexico (11-17, 5-11 MWC)