LAS CRUCES – Paulina Blunt was a star athlete and student in Oñate’s first senior year and one of the first local female basketball scholars in the state of New Mexico.
Blunt died this week in California, where she lives. Blunt was 50 years old.
“We called each other the twins and everyone thought we were sisters,” said Anita (Maxwell) Skipper, the NM State Women’s Program’s top scorer. “She was junior when I came as a freshman and she immediately took me under her wing. I came as one of seven newcomers. She could have seen me as a competitor, but she didn’t.”
Blunt competed in basketball, volleyball, and athletics in high school. She graduated from Oñate in 1989 after an average of 22.5 points and 12.2 rebounds per game as a senior.
“I believe she was one of the first local athletes to receive a Division I scholarship for women’s basketball,” said Corrie Stone, a high school teammate. “We went to all of their games and were always in their dorm.”
Like many she knew, Stone stayed in close contact with Blunt.
“She was a great mother,” said Stone. “She had her first child when she was in college. We all loved this girl in college.
“We stayed in contact and she has supported me and my family through many ups and downs. I will miss her.”
Skipper and Blunt made up half of what they called the “Quad Squad,” which also included Judy Bell and Kishia Edwards.
Blunt played in the state of New Mexico from 1989 to 1994 and was team captain for her last two seasons. She scored 1,148 points with 848 rebounds. She ranks 22nd in scoring and eighth in rebound and was a two-time All Big West player.
“Without Paulina, my story would not be my story,” said Skipper. “She actually started my first year just hoping to play someday. She injured herself against UTEP early in the season and (coach Mike Peterson) played me in her place. We became that dynamic duo on the pitch but one . ” Change in that story and you wouldn’t know who Anita Maxwell was. We are forever connected for several reasons. “
Following her career, Skipper stayed in touch with Blunt and her family throughout her professional career abroad. Skipper tries to coordinate a memorial in Las Cruces and has one GoFund me page helping the family with the costs.
“With everything she’s given to this community, we need to make sure we honor her appropriately,” Skipper said.