New hopes for Rio Grande Rivalry as women’s basketball teams face off on Sunday
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – On Sunday, New Mexico State and New Mexico’s women’s basketball teams will play each other at The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This will be the first time the Rio Grande Rivalry will be played in some capacity since the deadly Nov. 19 shooting at the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque involving NMSU men’s basketball player Mike Peake.
Three days after the shooting, it was announced by University of New Mexico Director of Athletics Eddie Nunez that the two games between the program’s men’s basketball teams were cancelled this season. Nunez said that the decision to cancel the men’s basketball games for this year was mutually agreed upon by administrators from both schools.
With that, Nunez said that the scheduled Dec. 11 women’s basketball game between NMSU and UNM would go on.
In a press conference on November 22, Nunez called it “the first step” of the healing process between the two schools.
“We will review from now until that game everything we need to to make sure we have everything in place,” Nunez said in a press conference on November 22. “Yes, it will be the first time the rivalry is played but it’s an opportunity for our fans and their fans to show the country that we can come together and do this right.”
On Sunday, the two teams will go head-to-head for the second time in the 2022-23 season. This time around, the two programs hope this game will mean more than just what the final score shows.
“We’re student athletes. We’re coaches. This is what we get to do. Basketball is not who we are,” NM State women’s basketball head coach Jody Adams said. “So, we get to go in there and be humans and show respect and just be a light on the stage that we’ve been given.”
“We just want to continue to be a light for this program, continuing to just be us and go out there and just play basketball and just continue to pray for everyone that is in that situation.” NM State junior guard Molly Kaiser said.
The last time these two teams met was Nov. 15 at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. New Mexico State grabbed a 73-64 overtime win over New Mexico.
Round two between New Mexico State and New Mexico’s women’s basketball teams is set for Sunday, Dec. 11 at The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tipoff is at 2:00 p.m. MT. You can watch the game on the Mountain West Network.