The Daily Aggie :: 01/24/11

The Aggie women's basketball team picked up a gutty victory Saturday night coming back from a seven point deficit in the second half as seniors Madison Spence and Danisha Corbett powered the Aggies to victory. The duo combined for 19 of the final 22 points in the first half and with New Mexico State down by seven points it was Spence and Corbett who hit back-to-back treys out of an Aggie timeout to bring the Aggies to within one.

Freshmen Andrea Chenier and Jasmine Rutledge along with transfer Ariella McGhee were also clutch for the Aggies. Chenier scored a floater after Spence and Corbett had buried the two second half threes to give the Aggies the lead after being down by seven. Rutledge had another fantastic night on the boards (perhaps she can teach the Aggie men a thing or two about rebounding) as two of her offensive boards led to Corbett treys. She finished with nine rebounds, six of which were offensive rebounds and in the past two games she has grabbed 24 rebounds. McGhee did not play in the first half and only played six second half minutes but scored four points, grabbed three rebounds and had one steal in those six minutes.

The win puts the Aggies at 3-2 in league play as they head to the state of Idaho next week.

The Aggie men suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Utah State on Saturday night. The loss drops them to 4-3 in conference play and in fifth place in the WAC. The road sweep suffered by the Aggies make this coming week's games against Boise State and Idaho all that much more important. The Aggies are competing with Idaho, Boise State and Nevada for the final three spots in the top half of the league. It should be assumed that Utah State, barring some unforeseen and unprecedented collapse that they will finish in the top four in the league. As of right now the Aggies are tied with Nevada at 4-3 in the league (Nevada obviously holds the head-to-head tiebreaker at the moment) and in fourth place. Idaho and Boise State are each 5-2 in conference play. If New Mexico State can sweep the homestand, something that they are more than capable of doing, they would move back into the top four. However, the margin for error in maintaining a top four standing is slim, much moreso than if they had split last week's road trip.

Obviously with nine conference games left to play there is no need to panic, we're just laying out the scenarios that fans need to be aware of. It's pretty safe to say that the Aggies are going to make the conference tournament. The question is, will they need to win four, three or two games to make a return trip to the NCAA tournament.

There are a couple of things that absolutely have to improve regardless of how many games the Aggies will have to win in the conference tournament and chief among those are rebounding, transition defense and free throw shooting. Although to be fair, it's probably pretty hard to knock down free throws when you're looking at Wild Bill (photo number 27, you can't miss him).

First, the easiest one to fix. Free throw shooting. The Aggies shot just 5-of-13 from the free throw line on Saturday night. Troy Gillenwater made just 1-of-4, Hernst Laroche made just 3-of-7. Those are two guys that are normally excellent free throw shooters. In a ten point game (that really wasn't necessarily as close as the final score indicated) that's seven points that the Aggies left on the court. A ten point game suddenly turns into a three point game. It does the Aggies no good to lead the nation in free throw attempts if they can't make them.

Second, transition defense. First of all, we thought the Aggies did a solid job in the half court last night. Where they got burned was transition defense off of missed shots where Utah State pushed the ball ahead quickly. Too many times last night were there moments when the Aggies would miss a shot and lag behind on defense and give up an easy basket.

Finally and most importantly. The Aggies have to do a much better job of rebounding. The Aggies were out-rebounded by 15 against Utah State and by 13 against Nevada. This area has to improve for the Aggies if they are going to win the WAC tournament.

Up next for the Aggies are the Idaho schools. The Aggies defeated Idaho and lost to Boise State earlier this season. A home sweep would go a long way toward restoring some confidence for the Aggies.

On to today's links...

Aggie Men's Basketball
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News writes that the Aggies have a lot of room for improvement after an 0-2 road trip.

The Utah State athletic website recaps the Aggies' loss to USU.

The NM State athletic website recaps the loss.

Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune recaps the loss.

KSL has the has video highlights.

The Standard Examiner recaps the loss.

Weston Magnum of the Cache Valley Daily News recaps the loss.

The Cache Valley Daily News shares photos from the game.

Aggie Women's Basketball
Wade Denniston of the Logan Herald Journal News recaps the Aggies' win over USU.

The NM State athletic website recaps the Aggies' victory.

The Utah State athletic website recaps the Aggies' win.

Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps the win.

Aggie Men's Tennis
The Utah State athletic website recaps the Aggies' 4-3 loss to USU.

Aggie Swimming and Diving
The NM State athletic website recaps Saturday's meet, a victory for the Aggies.

The Colorado State athletic website recaps the Aggies' win.

Aggie Women's Tennis
The NM State athletic website recaps the Aggies' victory over Pacific.

Aggie Track and Field
The NM State athletic website recaps the Aggies' weekend.

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