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After taking a week off, the Western New Mexico Women's Basketball team hosts the Lady Eagles of Northern New Mexico Wednesday evening, before opening conference play on the road at UT Permian Basin.

Projected to finish 15th in the Preseason Poll, and just shy of the post season last season, the Mustangs look to build on last season and out right earn a spot in the playoffs this season starting Saturday.

LAST TIME OUT:
In their season opener, WNMU outscored hosts Fort Lewis in the second half of game one of the RMAC/LSC Conference Challenge, falling just shy 59-62. In her debut, Alicia Mardis (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) tallied 17-points, shooting 6-9 from the field, adding seven rebounds an assists, and a steal. Daria Vastrushkina contributed 13-points of her own, followed by Paulina Rodriguez (Chihuahua, Mexico/Montverde Academy) with nine.

The Mustangs bounced back in game two, dropping the Cowgirls of New Mexico Highlands 69-50, behind a double-double performance from Mardis. Her 20-points, 11-rebounds and 6-assists were a game high. As a team, WNMU outscored NMHU 24-11 in the fourth quarter and held a 37-28 edge in rebounds.

Western New Mexico Head Men's Basketball coach, Matt Cross, has officially resigned effective immediately. In his statement Cross expressed ongoing health concerns limiting his involvement with the team.

"I want to thank Scott Noble for giving me this opportunity," said Cross. "However at this time it is necessary for me to move back to Louisiana to address the health conditions I have had since my arrival in New Mexico."Cross joined the staff in early May, after former coach Matt Enriquez was promoted to Assistant Athletic Director of Facilities and Operations.

Prior to his time with WNMU, Cross spent two season with the Pilots of LSU – Shreveport as the Head Women's Basketball Coach. While with the Pilots, Cross accumulated a 46-15 record, including an undefeated 15-0 record at home in his first season. In four consecutive seasons he led Texas College (21 wins in 2008), Talladega College (25 wins in 2009) and Lamar State (20 wins in 2010 and 26 wins in 2011) to record setting seasons in wins.

"I want to thank Matt for his time here at Western New Mexico. I truly want what is best for him, his family and our Mustang basketball program", stated Director of Athletics Scott Noble. Matt Enriquez has agreed to step in as the interim head coach until a replacement can be hired.

The Western New Mexico University Alumni Foundation is working on an Initiative to bring Women’s Soccer and bring back Men’s Baseball to WNMU Athletics. The two sports will create opportunities for more than 70 students to attend Western New Mexico University doing something they love. Currently Western is the only NCAA university in the state that does not offer the two sports.

In September, Alumni and Athletics held a Golf tournament to help raise money for Men’s Baseball and Women’s Soccer, with help of several sponsors, was able to clear nearly $14,000 (net).

n their second meeting in just three days, the Western New Mexico Mustangs entered the John A. Wilson Complex on the campus of New Mexico Highlands looking for their first win of the season. The Cowboys took the first of the two meetings over the weekend at the conference challenge in Durango, Colorado. A second half surge, fell just short as the Mustangs fell 71-74.

TOP PERFORMERS:
Amarion Cash (Phoenix, AZ/Mountain Pointe) - 22-points | 4-9 3PG | 5 reb. | 2 assists
Andrew Leonard (Tucson, AZ /Cienega ) - 13-points | 4-4 FT | 4 reb. | 4 assists
Rodney Simon (Boston, MA/Randolph ) - 10-points | 5-8 FG | 6 reb. | 1 block

HOW IT HAPPENED:
NMHU jumped out to a 6-0 lead within two minutes of play.
Andrew Leonard (Tucson, AZ /Cienega ) aided in closing the deficit, sinking a three followed by a series of free throws to put WNMU within two.

CJ Vanbeekum (Phoenix, AZ/Paradise) would knock down a three of his own for the Mustangs first lead at 19-17.

The teams traded leads throughout the rest of the first half, with NMHU up 33-29 just under the five minute mark.
Just as the Cowboys thought they would go into the break with the lead, Amarion Cash (Phoenix, AZ/Mountain Pointe) got off a last minute shot to retake the lead 38-37.
Similar to the first half, NMHU pulled ahead to take a six point lead. They would lead by as many as 14 in the second half.

Cash rallied off 10-points in the last five minutes of the game. A last minute effort to tie, ricocheted off the rim, giving the Cowboys the 74-71 win.

UP NEXT:
The team will take a break from Division II opponents, traveling to in-state University of the Southwest, Friday in Hobbs, N.M. at 5 p.m.

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