International flair: Lobo women sign guards from Congo, Portugal

May 7—The Pit became something of an international destination Tuesday — thanks to the University of New Mexico women's basketball team.

UNM announced the signing of a pair of international players for next season, guards who hail from Portugal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their games are decidedly different.

Lydie Mwamba, a 5-foot-10 wing from the Congo, played high school and junior college ball in the United States. She's coming off a monster season at Texas' Trinity Valley Community College that placed her in the recruiting crosshairs of numerous Division I programs.

Joana Magalhães is a 5-5 point guard from Lisbon, Portugal, who will be a freshman next season. She won a national championship playing for Quinta dos Lombos and will compete in Portugal's national team program this summer.

The additions of Mwamba and Magalhães bring UNM's roster to 11 players for 2024-25. The Lobos added three other signees, center Clarissa Craig, post Amhyia Moreland and wing Destinee Hooks, in April.

Lobos coach Mike Bradbury said his program has three more campus visits scheduled with recruits in the coming weeks, but he was glad to add two talented guards to the roster.

"These two make us quicker and more athletic," Bradbury said. "Lydie is a good, big guard who attacks the basket and can really score. Joana is a quick point guard who handles the ball well and can shoot the 3. Signing these two is another big step forward."

Both players visited UNM's campus in April and came away impressed. For Mwamba, it was part of a lengthy shopping process as various schools competed for her services.

Such was not surprising after Mwamba's standout sophomore season for Trinity Valley CC. She led the Cardinals to a 26-7 record averaging 16.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. She hit 34% from 3-point range, converting 38.

Mwamba exceeded 500 points (558) and 200 rebounds (225) and was named all-conference, all-region and second team all-NJCAA All-American. She ranked 10th nationally with 220 field goals, 21st in points scored and 40th in scoring average.

Mwamba, who has 11 siblings and came to the United States in 2018, had more than a dozen Division I offers this spring. Her suitors included Louisiana, Southern Miss, New Orleans, South Alabama and Sacramento State.

"Lydie keeps getting better every year," Bradbury said, "and we believe she can keep that trend going. She knows how to score and with her length and athleticism, she has a chance to be an elite defender."

Less information is available regarding Magalhães, who will turn 18 in August. She averaged 9 points per game during Quinta dos Lombos' recent season, competing at the U22 level.

Unlike several recent European players who have signed with the Lobos, Magalhães was able to visit Albuquerque before committing. Both she and Bradbury came away impressed.

"They have an extraordinary and comfortable environment where I can be myself," Magalhães said in a UNM release, "and the coaches, the entire staff are so friendly. Not to mention some of the teammates I met, they were incredible to me! And in the end, after seeing 'THE PIT,' I fell in love immediately."

Mwamba is expected to join the Lobos for summer workouts in June, while Magalhães will likely arrive in August after completing national team play. Magalhães and fall signee Reza Po give UNM two freshman point guards for next season.

NOTES: Rising sophomore Lara Langermann will return home this summer to compete with Germany's national team. Langermann will play point guard for Germany and will be in the mix to play the position at UNM next season, Bradbury said. ... Former Lobo Paula Reus recently committed to play at Loyola Marymount next season, becoming the fourth UNM player from 2023-24 to sign after entering the transfer portal after Hannah Robbins (Montana State), Nyah Wilson (Missouri), and Jaelyn Bates (Jacksonville).