Aggie Women's Basketball Opens Season With 79-69 Win At North Dakota State

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

FARGO, N.D. - Active defensive pressure from NM State late in the second quarter propelled the Aggies past North Dakota State, 79-69, on Friday night in their 2015-16 season opener at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse.

"I'm proud of how hard the kids played tonight in a hostile environment," head coach Mark Trakh said. "North Dakota State was prepared to play us from the get-go. Our defense got us back into the game and gave us the lead. Tamera [William] and Sasha [Weber] played a huge part in getting us back into the game. In the second half, Shanice [Davis] gave us a huge boost with seven assists and Brooke [Salas], who started her first-career game, came away with seven steals."

NM State (1-0) was paced by William with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor while Weber chipped in with 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting from downtown.

Reigning Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Brianna Freeman, wrapped up the night with 12 points, eight rebounds on 6-of-11 shooting to go with four of the Aggies' 11 total blocks. Abby Scott also added 12 points for NM State while Salas tallied 10 points.

The Aggies went down early in the first quarter, but defensive stops from Tamera William on the press and then on the defensive end in the very next series gave NM State the 12-11 lead at the first media timeout with 4:41 on the clock.

After a back-and-forth battle for most of the second quarter, NM State exploded for a 17-2 run in the final 3:33 minutes of the half to take a 39-33 lead at the break.

That 17-2 run started with three-straight 3-pointers from Weber and Abby Scott. Like their previous run earlier in the second quarter, it was the Aggies' defense that sparked the offensive explosion.

NM State picked up exactly where they left off at the end of the second quarter and relentlessly poured it on in the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse to the beat of a 33-2 run. When the dust finally settled, North Dakota State (0-1) didn't register its first field goal of the second half until the 5:35 mark when Marena Whittle knocked down a three to make it 55-36 in favor of the Aggies.

William, who was the spark to the Aggies' first run, knocked down six-straight points to start the third quarter before the rest of the team joined in.

During the run in the third quarter, NM State held an 11-0 advantage in second-chance points and 16-2 edge in points in the paint.

The Aggies matched their biggest lead of the game in the fourth on Jasmine Cooper's second free throw with 3:50 left in the game before finishing with the 79-69 victory.

NM State's bench played a huge part in the season-opening win, outscoring the Bison's bench 20-9. The defense was solid for the Aggies, converting NDSU's 23 turnovers for 28 points.

The Aggies now return to the Pan American Center for their home opener against in-state rival, New Mexico, in the Battle for I-25 at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17. Tuesday's contest will also be a "White Out" for the Aggies with the first 1,000 fans in attendance getting a free t-shirt.

POSTGAME NOTES: The last time NM State had five players score in double-figures was against Seattle U in the WAC Tournament last season … The Aggies came away with 15 steals on the night, seven of which came from freshman Brooke Salas … Last time an Aggie had five-plus steals was Brianna Freeman against Chicago State (6) last season … NM State now leads the head-to-head series 3-1 … The Aggies are now 1-1 when playing NDSU in a season-opening match and 1-1 in Fargo.