The Aggie women's basketball team picked up an impressive 71-65 victory over North Dakota State on Saturday night in the Pan Am. The Bison led the Aggies by 11 points at 36-24 with 4:44 left in the first half but the Aggies whittled the lead down to just four points by halftime and trailed 39-35. The Aggies took their first lead of the second half with 11:17 remaining when they went ahead 50-49 on a jumper by Kaitlyn Soto. The Aggies held the lead the rest of the game as they hit 6-of-7 free throws in the final 1:39 to seal the game after hitting just 4-of-9 in the half up to that point.
In the first half the Aggies allowed North Dakota State to shoot 54.2 percent from the field but clamped down on the defensive end in the second half holding the Bison to just 30.4 percent shooting from the field and just 1-of-8 from beyond the three point arc in the second half. The Aggies themselves hit 56.5 percent of their shots in the second half. The Aggies were able to win the game even though they hit no three point attempts in the game. The Aggies came into the game as a good three point shooting team but went 0-for-8 from behind the arc. The Aggies were also able to come away with the win despite being outrebounded 36-27. The Aggies did force 25 turnovers, including eight from Bison guard Inger Hodgson and scored 22 points off of those turnovers.
Jasmine Lowe finished with 19 points to lead all scorers and in the past three games she has totaled 74 points. Madison Spence finished with 13 points, Crystal Boyd finished with 12 points and Kaitlyn Soto finished with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field.
The Aggies return to action against UTEP in Round I of the Battle of I-10 which will take place on Tuesday night at the Pan Am at 7:00 p.m.
The Aggie men's basketball team also returns from a lengthy layoff as they travel down to El Paso to take on the undefeated Miners in Round II of the Battle of I-10. Round I was an affair to forget for Aggie fans as the Miners dealt the Aggies their worst home defeat in the rivalry series, a 21-point setback.
The biggest news prior to today's game came in the form of who's playing for UTEP and who's not playing for the Aggies. The Miners will add Louisville transfer Derrick Caracter to their lineup as he has been declared eligible. The Aggies had hoped to get some good news regarding Wendell McKines and Troy Gillenwater, however, the grades for both had not been posted as of Friday evening (the official University deadline is not until this coming Tuesday) and as a result, neither will suit up for the Aggies.
The Miners and Aggies have each played just one game since the two last met. The Aggies suffered at 17-point loss at The Pit in Albuquerque to a red-hot New Mexico team (who just knocked off their second Top 25 opponent in the past three games). The Miners meanwhile held an exhibition against the University of the Southwest posting an easy 91-51 victory.
The Aggies will need to take better care of the ball in this second meeting. The Aggies had a season-high 31 turnovers against New Mexico the last time out and had 17 against the Miners in the game previous to that, seven of those by the normally ball-control savvy Jahmar Young.
The Aggie offense hopes to get back on track as the Aggies have scored just 58 points in consecutive games and the last time out against the Miners, senior Jonathan Gibson posted a 1-for-10 from the field performance. The Aggies appeared to be on their way to breaking out of their shooting slump as they hit better than 50 percent of their shots in the second half against New Mexico.
The Aggie defense will also need to be able to control Miner guards Julyan Stone and Randy Culpepper as the duo scored 35 points against the Aggies in the first meeting.
As has been the case all season long, the Aggies must have another player or two step up as Jahmar Young, Jonathan Gibson and Hamidu Rahman have carried the offensive load in all but one game this season.
Tonight's game is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. tipoff. The game can be heard on KGRT 103.9 FM in Las Cruces and streaming audio will be available for the game via Aggie Access (subscription required). Streaming video of the game will also be available via the UTEP athletic website for a fee. Live Stats will also be available via the UTEP athletic website.
On to today's links...
Aggie Women's Basketball
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps the Aggies' victory over North Dakota State.
The North Dakota athletic website recaps the Aggie victory.
Aggie Men's Basketball
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News previews tonight's rivalry game.
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News talks about the Miners' addition to their roster.
The UTEP athletic website previews tonight's game.
Bill Knight of the El Paso Times previews tonight's rivalry battle.
Joe Meunch of the El Paso Times blogs about UTEP's addition to their roster, Derrick Caracter.
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