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volleyballDirector of Athletics Scott Noble announces the hiring of Holly Watts. Watts will take over the Western New Mexico Women's Volleyball program, after the retirement of long-time coach Jim Callender.

"Our search focused on strengthening our cultural values of Experiencing Mustang M.A.G.I.C. These principles make up the fiber of who we are," Noble said. "Holly understands these standards, and brings an impeccable history of moral character, playing and coaching experience. Her program vision fits our needs, and she brings an established recruiting base within the state of New Mexico, southern Arizona and Texas regions."

After serving six seasons as the head coach at the University of Texas- El Paso, Watts comes to Silver City bringing over 24 years of coaching experience to the table, as well as experience as a Division I student-athlete. In her first season at the helm of UTEP volleyball, she led the Miners to a 14-16 overall record. The Miners also earned the AVCA Team Academic Award in 2016-17, and 2017-18, as well as the Director's Award for their community service in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

The Lone Star teams dipped their toes into conference play this week with non-conference games thrown into the mix. Eastern New Mexico, Texas A&M Commerce, and West Texas A&M each opened LSC play with 2 wins and no losses. None of the teams are undefeated overall.

LSC teams currently have a 49-29 record early in the season featuring a 10-9 combined record against the Heartland Conference and 13-8 against the Rocky Mountain Conference. There are still a number of games to play against the Heartland, but these games are against regional foes in the NCAA which can determine seeding and qualification in the post season NCAA tournament. 

Angelo State and Tarleton State sit right behind the undefeated teams at 1-1 followed by Kingsville, Cameron, and Midwestern State at 0-2. WNMU & UT Permian Basin have yet to play a conference game, but will face each other this Saturday in Odessa. All other LSC teams will face non-conference foes, most from the Heartland Conference.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

As the teams in the Lone Star wind down non-conference play and begin league play, the LSC women's team compiled a 15-7 record against the Heartland Conference but fell to 8-11 against Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference teams, which are the other conferences in the NCAA South Central Region. Records against regional teams go a long way in determining regional rankings and at large bids to the post-season NCAA tournament.

Angelo State (4-0) and West Texas A&M (8-0) are the remaining undefeated teams in the Conference. Those two teams, along with Eastern New Mexico and Texas Women's are 2-0 in conference play. Tarleton State and Texas A&M Commerce are next at 1-1, followed by WNMU & UT Permian Basin at 1-0. Kingsville, Cameron and Midwestern State bring up the rear with 0-2 records. 

The only conference games on the schedule this week will see Kingsville visit Angelo State and WNMU travel to UT Permian Basin.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

WNMU men's basketball will take the floor Tuesday night putting their 3-1 record on the line against Northern New Mexico College. The Eagles enter the game sporting a 5-8 record while Western comes off a key road win against Texas A&M International bouncing back after their only loss of the season, at home against NM Highlands.

The Mustangs are paced by senior Willie McCray's 16 points a game followed by senior Jon Reese Woodson's 13 points a game. Woodson also lead WNMU with 5.5 rebounds per game. 

As a team, the 'Stangs are hitting over 46% from the floor which includes hitting 55% in their win at TAMI last week. The hot shooting for the Mustangs has, according to Coach Matt Enriquez, masked some deficiencies in other areas, such as 14 turnovers a game versus only 11 assists per game. 

Coach Enriquez has implemented a new offense and emphasized an uptempo game that starts with high intensity defense. The result has been a lot more fast break points and steals but the team is still learning the offense resulting in too many turnovers. Enriquez believes the turnovers will decline as the team gets more time together on the floor. 

Despite a strong start for the Lady Mustangs, they opened up conference play falling to the Pioneers of Texas Woman's 75-69.

Tough defense by the Lady Mustangs, and efficient shooting gave them a 13-9 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter. Destiney Johnson (El Paso, Texas/Parkland High School) stepped up with four points, one block and one steal. Paulina Rodriguez (Chihuahua, Mexico/Montverde Academy ) added another steal to give Western the 15-6 advantage at the end of the first. Western hit 7-11 from the field, blocked four shots and grabbed three steals going into the second quarter.

Women's basketball looks to start conference play on a high note, traveling to Denton, Texas to take on the Pioneers of Texas Woman's. After a tough 0-2 weekend at the Colorado Mesa Thanksgiving Classic, the Lady Mustangs have a quick turn-around, this time starting fresh in conference play.

The Pioneers of Texas Woman are 2-3 on the season, after an 83-48 win over Huston Tillotson last week. Freshman, Macy Wilkerson led the way with 17 points, while senior Alexus Dukes added 15 points. Texas Woman's finished last season with an 8-12 record, finishing 8th in the conference standings. They were picked to finish 7th in the preseason poll.

WNMU men's basketball experienced their first true road game of the young season visiting Texas A&M International last night. The game featured 9 lead changes and 5 ties, most of them in the first half, but the Mustangs came out on top thanks to shooting better than 50% from the field. 

Willie McCray's milestone night, he surpassed 1,000 points for his career, paced WNMU with 21 points on 7-14 shooting. Three other Stangs scored in double figures; Jon Reese Woodson added added 15 points while C.J. Van Beekum and Eddie Giron chipped in 11 a piece. 

The teams battled in the first half exchanging the lead 9 times and finding themselves tied 5 times. WNMU jumped out to an early lead on a Woodson layup. TAMI would answer and the race battle was on.The Mustangs found themselves down 18-13 with just under 8:00 remaining in the first half. Strong defense and hot shooting would help them surge ahead, outscoring TAMI 16-7 to take a 29-25 lead into intermission.

For the second time in less than a week, intrastate rivals WNMU & NMHU met on the basketball court, this time in Silver City. While the Mustangs led for most of the game, the Cowboys were able to put together a late charge to pull out the victory and avenge their loss on Friday night.

The Mustangs dominated early on the strength of a smothering defense led by Lesten Gordon's 2 blocks and 3 rebounds in the first 7 minutes. Willie McCray dropped 7 points to build a 22-8 lead for WNMU at the midway point of the first half. Highlands would turn up the intensity of their defense to cool the Mustang's shooting and used a half court shot at the buzzer to cut the Stang lead to 36-33 at the intermission.

Live from Silver City

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