Aggie Women's Basketball Announces 2007-08 Schedule

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State women’s head basketball coach Darin Spence announced the release of the 2007-08 schedule on Wednesday, Aug. 1. The schedule is highlighted by the second most home games in school history and the second consecutive season in which New Mexico State hosts the Western Athletic Conference Championships.

NMSU hosts 16 games at the Pan American Center this season. Only in the 1979-80 season has there been more regular season games played at home by an Aggie team; that year they played 17.

With a 68.4 (294-136) home winning percentage in program history, this years heavily weighted home schedule provides the Aggies with an excellent opportunity to have their first winning season since 2002-03 and the chance to make their first postseason appearance since the 1993-94 season.

The Aggies have 29 regular season games on the schedule, the most since the 1991-92 season and it ties for the fourth most games in school history. The schedule matches NMSU up against three teams that participated in the 2007 NCAA Tournament and one that played in the 2007 Women’s National Invitational Tournament.

Head coach Darin Spence is pleased with how the schedule rounded out and believes he has all the pieces in place with his team to have a breakthrough year.

Spence is not the only one taking notice to the Aggies potential this coming season. Michael White, a national women’s basketball expert, predicted in his “Basketball Today” publication that the Aggies would win the WAC this season.

“Our schedule puts us in a better position now where our home court will mean a lot to us,” Spence said. “It’s a really competitive schedule, but I think that with the depth of our team and our experience we’ll be able to handle it.”

New Mexico State, which has reached the finals of the WAC Championships the past two seasons as a No. 7 seed, is pleased to welcome the conference tournament back to the city of Las Cruces. A year ago over 49,000 fans attended, making it the highest attended tournament since 1998 in Las Vegas.

At the beginning of the school-year, the Aggies have a rare opportunity to bring in the new student-athletes and get them incorporated into the system and build chemistry with their new teammates before the season officially starts. NMSU is traveling up to Vancouver, British Columbia over Labor Day Weekend to play three exhibition games against Canadian colleges.

The Aggies begins preparation for the Canadian trip on Aug. 22 when practices begin. Then on Sept. 1 the Aggies take on the College of Fraser Valley and Simon Fraser, a premier Canadian school that has won several championships. On Sept. 2 NMSU plays its final exhibition game against Trinity Western.

After the preseason exhibitions, NMSU hosts two more exhibition games before the start of the 35th season of Aggie women’s basketball. Hosting New Mexico Highlands (Nov. 1) and Western New Mexico (Nov. 5) gives the Aggies two final opportunities to work out any kinks.

For the second consecutive season, the Aggies first game of the year comes on the road as NMSU travels to Irvine, Calif. to face UC Irvine at the Bren Events Center on Nov. 9. The Aggies are looking to avenge last years, 61-47, loss at home to the Anteaters.

Following the season opener, the Aggies are off for 11 days before they return to action by hosting Kent State University on Nov. 20. This marks the first ever meeting between the two schools on the hardwood.

“After opening up on the road we have a long break where we can work on what we need to before we play Kent State,” Spence said. “Then following that, the pace of the season will be interesting and we’ll be really challenged the next four weeks.”

After a eight year hiatus from hosting a tournament, the Aggies bring in 2007 NCAA Tournament participant Southeast Missouri State, Texas State and Northern Colorado for the Thanksgiving Classic at the Pan American Center, Nov. 23-24. In day one of the classic, Southeast Missouri State faces off against Texas State at 4:00 p.m. and game two matches the Aggies up against the UNC Bears at 6:30 p.m.

Day two of the Thanksgiving Classic sees the Redhawks and Bears in game one at 4:00 p.m. while NMSU and Texas State bring the tournament to an end with a 6:30 p.m. meeting. The Aggies are 3-3 all-time against Northern Colorado and 1-1 against Texas State.

Following the Thanksgiving Classic, the Aggies begin what Spence believes is going to be the toughest stretch of the season.

It starts with NMSU hosting its two biggest rivals, UTEP and New Mexico on Nov. 28 and Dec. 2 respectively. New Mexico State is looking to end a couple losing streaks against their arch rivals, as NMSU has lost the last four match-ups with the Miners and fell in the last 22 games against the Lobos.

After the two rivalry games, the Aggies travel to Provo, Utah to face 2007 NCAA Tournament First Round participant Brigham Young University on Dec. 5. Last year the Cougars defeated the Aggies, 60-43, in Las Cruces.

NMSU then travels down I-10 for the second meeting against the UTEP Miners on Dec. 8, which ends its challenging four-game stretch.

Two home games against Wichita State (Dec. 16) and Lamar University (Dec. 18) are up next for NMSU. The Aggies defeated Lamar, 69-52, in Beaumont, Texas and downed Wichita State 72-69 in Wichita, Kansas last year thanks to a half-court shot from senior guard Monique Bribiescas as the buzzer sounded.

The final two games before New Years has the Aggies back on the road with games at New Mexico (Dec. 21) and at Colorado State (Dec. 29). NMSU owns a 20-2 record against CSU and downed the Rams 71-55 exactly one year earlier in Las Cruces.

NMSU opens up the New Year with four straight home games, three of which are against WAC opponents. On Jan. 3 the Aggies begin their third season in the WAC with a contest against Idaho. NMSU is 1-1 in its first WAC game of the season and are 1-1 against the Vandals in Las Cruces since joining the WAC.

On Jan. 5, New Mexico State plays its final non-conference game of the season against Utah Valley State.

Games against Boise State (Jan. 10) and Utah State (Jan. 12) wrap up the four-game home stand for the Aggies. NMSU lost all three games against the Broncos last year, including the championship game of the 2007 WAC Championships. The Aggies went 0-2 last season against the navy-clad USU Aggies, but own a 13-7 record all-time over their northern conference foe.

On Jan 19, NMSU plays its first of three-straight road games. They begin the short road trip with a contest at Louisiana Tech before playing at Utah State (Jan. 24) and at Nevada (Jan. 26). The Aggies ended La Tech’s bid for its 26th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance when they defeated the Lady Techsters, 63-57, in the first round of the WAC Championships a year ago.

A Jan. 31 game at home with Hawai’i is the first of the two meetings with the Rainbow Wahine on the year. NMSU then faces San Jose State at the Pan American Center on Feb. 2. The Aggies won both contests with the Spartans last season.

After a two-game road swing in the state of Idaho to face the University of Idaho (Feb. 7) and Boise State (Feb. 9), both for the second time of the season, the Aggies return home to face Louisiana Tech on Feb. 14.

On Feb. 21, NMSU travels out to San Jose, Calif. to face the Spartans for the second time of the year. Then the Aggies return home to face Nevada on Feb. 28. NMSU is 8-2 against the Wolf Pack at home in the last 10 meetings.

The first two games of the month of March matches the Aggies up with Fresno State. NMSU and the Bulldogs meet in Las Cruces on March 1 for the Aggies senior night and final home game of the regular season. Then on March 6, New Mexico State turns around and travels out to Fresno, Calif. to face the Bulldogs.

The final regular season game for the Aggies has NMSU traveling out to Honolulu to face the Rainbow Wahine. Last year the Aggies downed Hawai’i, 58-51, on the islands in their first conference game of the season.

For the second straight season, NMSU and the city of Las Cruces host the WAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. The tournament runs from March 11-15. In the past two WAC Championships, NMSU has advanced to the championship game as a No. 7 seed and they did so last year by defeating the second-seeded Lady Techsters and the Wolf Pack, who were seeded No. 3.

Spence’s four WAC Tournament victories in the past two seasons are tied for the most by any coach in the conference.

New Mexico State returns four starters from last year’s team that went 13-18 and they have added five talented players to the 2007-08 roster. With the high expectations for this year’s team, the 2007-08 schedule paves the way for NMSU to make a run for its first ever WAC Championship.