It's gameday Aggie fans! It's the start of final month of the year and it's a busy day in Aggie sports. Aggie volleyball wrapped up their season last night with a disappointing loss to BYU. The Aggies were swept by the Cougars losing 25-8, 25-17 and 25-14 and really struggled throughout much of the match with ball control which had been a bit of an issue throughout the season. They also struggled a lot with what appeared to be communication issues. A few balls that dropped that should have been dug, a few times players ran into each other and some miss-timing on sets to players as well. Unfortunately it wasn't representative of the how well we know Aggie team can play. That being said the future looks exceptionally bright for the Aggies as they return everyone, save for senior defensive specialist Madison Hardy. A offseason of practice together, particularly working with the lineup that the Aggies won the WAC tournament with plus some seasoning for their outstanding freshman class should mean big things for this team. The experienced gained last night will undoubtedly fuel them to another NCAA tournament run next year and hopefully help them advance past the first round.
We'll have more on the volleyball team next week but for now we offer up our congratulations on a great and exciting season.
On the flip side of things the Aggie football team finishes a disappointing season today at Texas State. The Aggies are 1-10 and have suffered through one of the most miserable seasons in recent history (Coach Walker's first year and Hal Mumme's first year come to mind as contenders for that dubious title). Despite the terrible record and the lack of competitiveness on the field the Aggies, save for one game this season, have never quit fighting.
An example of that resolve and lack of quit in the team we were told that earlier this week someone dropped by the football offices and saw a pair of defensive players in the team's poring over game film. Teams that have quit don't do that and anyone who believes this team has given up is sadly mistaken and doesn't know the team nor do they know the fire and fight that Coach Walker has and has instilled in his program.
The Aggies will take the field today at 2:00 p.m. (MT) and try to end the season on a high note by beating Texas State. It's the final regular WAC football game of the year and it's also the last WAC conference football game perhaps ever in history. Despite all the struggles this year the Aggies have a chance to do something that nobody else in the league except for Texas State has a chance to do this year and that is go down in history as winning the final conference game ever in the WAC.
Texas State is 3-8 on the year and started out hot with a big-time win over Houston in the season opener. The team was sitting pretty at 3-3 after six game but have fallen off a bit over the last five games culminating with a bitter loss to their rival UT San Antonio. Can the Aggies take advantage of a potential hangover by the Bobcats? Perhaps. One thing is for certain, the Aggies need to "let it all hang out" today on the field both offensively and defensively. In particular on offense we don't want to see a conservative gameplan nor do we want to see conservative or bland play calling from the Aggies.
Defensively, the Aggies have played well better over the last half of the season and in some cases, good enough to win but they haven't gotten any help from the offense. Can the defense put it together one last time in hopes that the offense comes through for them? We'll find out today.
Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (MT) and the game can be heard on the Aggie Sports Network with streaming audio available via Aggie Access (subscription required). Live Stats are available via the Texas State athletic website.
The Aggie men's and women's basketball teams are also back in action today as the women are on the road to take on Southern Utah and the men return home after a tough loss to UTEP to take on another Conference USA foe in Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles swept the Aggies last season winning in the semifinals of the Great Alaska Shootout and then several days later winning at Southhern Miss. In both games the Aggies struggled at the end of the game to grab a defensive rebound and gave the Golden Eagles extra opportunities to win the game.
The biggest keys to tonight's game for the Aggies are one, limiting turnovers. The Aggies have been a turnover machine this season which is something we feared could happen with the departures of good ball handlers in Hernst Laroche and Wendell McKines. Turnovers were the primary reason the Aggies lost to UTEP on Wednesday as they committed 22 turnovers giving UTEP 20 points. Second, rebounding Southern Miss' offensive misses. It's something that plagued the Aggies in two games last year against the smaller Golden Eagles and it's something that the Aggies must, must, must focus on this year especially if it's a close game. Third, tempo, tempo, tempo. The Aggies cannot get dragged into these slowed down half-court games. It doesn't suit the Aggies. New Mexico State likes to get out and run creating easy buckets off of defensive rebounds and forced turnovers.
Southern Miss would like to keep this game in the 60s while New Mexico State would be better served if this game were in the mid 70's or even low 80's. Southern Miss isn't great from behind the arc but they're serviceable. If this game is close and comes down to free throw shooting, USM has a decided advantage. They're a stellar free throw shooting team with four players above 80 percent and three more above 70 percent.
Tonight's game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. (MT) tipoff and can be seen on AggieVision and streaming online on ESPN3.com. The game can also be heard on the radio on the Aggie Sports Network with streaming audio available via Aggie Access (subscription required).
The Aggie women's basketball team looks to continue their winning ways today when they face Southern Utah. The Aggies are fresh off an exciting 69-68 come-from-behind victory over I-10 rival UTEP and almost as importantly for the Aggies, Stephanie Gilbreath appears to have broken out of her season-long shooting slump.
Southern Utah knocked off the Aggies last season in Las Cruces, one of the Aggies' many last second losses and the Thunderbirds are 2-3 on the season with wins over New Orleans and Southern Oregon but losses to Nicholls State, Texas Tech and Utah. This should be a high-scoring affair with both teams pushing the pace. Southern Utah averages 68 points per game and is allowing 67. Just one Thunderbird is averaging double-figures in scoring and that is guard Hailey Mandelko at 13 points per game. The Aggies have a pair of double-digit scorers in Daniesha Williamson (14.7) and Stephanie Gilbreath (13.6) and Kelsie Rozendaal is just shy averaging 9.5 points per game.
The Aggies need to get off to a better start offensively. Despite SUU not having any quality wins this season the Aggies can't afford a slow start offensively. Defensively the Aggies have been pretty solid allowing just 57 points per game this season. If the Aggies do start slow offensively they'll need to rely on their defense to keep the game within reach until the offense does get going (which we saw on Wednesday night against UTEP).
Tipoff for this game is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. (MT). There will be no radio coverage for this game but Live Stats will be available through the Southern Utah athletic website and free streaming video is available through the Big Sky network.
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