LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The New Mexico State Athletics Department together with First Community Bank announced Monday, January 4, that former women’s basketball standout Mari Sanchez Galaz, women’s golfer Jane Egan Noble and track & field/cross country great Rachael Cuellar will be inducted into the First Community Bank/NM State Athletics Hall of Fame.
The ceremony is set to take place at halftime of the men’s basketball game, Saturday, February 27 against Boise State in Las Cruces. The NMSU Hall of Fame, which is located in the Pan American Center, honors outstanding student-athletes, coaches, teams and benefactors from Aggie past.
When Aggie fans hear the name Mari Sanchez, images of a prolific shooter from behind the three-point arc come to mind. Now married to Las Cruces native Adrian Galaz, Sanchez Galaz is just as accomplished off the court as she was on the hardwood.
The NM State all-time leader in three-point field goals made in a game, season and career graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering. A recipient of several academic awards during her time in Las Cruces, Sanchez Galaz returned to campus to complete a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering in 2008. She currently works as an electronics engineer for the United States Department of Defense at the Center of Countermeasures located nearby at the White Sands Missile Range.
Sanchez Galaz made an immediate impact on the NM State women’s program, leading the team in assists during each of her four years on campus. From beyond the three-point arc, she was a constant threat to opposing defenses. In the NM State record books, each of her four seasons in the Crimson and White rank among the top nine all-time in three-point field goals made, led by 84 makes in 29 games during her junior year.
It was during that third season that Sanchez Galaz knocked down an NM State record 10 field goals from behind the three-point line against Louisiana-Lafayette en route to a career-high 30 points. Her 10 three-point buckets against the Ragin’ Cajuns is a feat that currently stands tied for the seventh most in NCAA single-game history.
A four-year starter, Sanchez Galaz captained the Crimson and White during her final two seasons in Las Cruces. She started 111 career games in an Aggie uniform, the second-most in school history, while averaging over 34 minutes per game. Sanchez Galaz ended her four years at NM State as the 13th player in school history to score 1,000 points in a career with 1,196 total tallies, an average of 10.8 points per game. She also ranks second all-time in NM State history in free throw percentage, connecting on 83.5 percent of her shots from the line.
After her senior season on the court, Sanchez Galaz worked with current NM State women’s basketball head coach Darin Spence for a semester while finishing her bachelor’s degree.
Head coach Darin Spence said this about Sanchez Galaz’ time at NM State: “Mari is proof that hard work and efficiency on the basketball court pays off. She was a high-IQ player who could shoot the ball, handle the ball and understood how to play the game. Mari is a first-class person who represented NM State, the Aggie women’s basketball program and Las Cruces in a first-class manner. I’m very happy for Mari; she is very deserving of this honor.”