Aggie Women's Basketball Opens Title Defense With 73-68 Victory Over Utah Valley

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - A career-high 21 points from junior Moriah Mack and double-figures from Brianna Freeman and Sasha Weber saw NM State outlast Utah Valley on Thursday in its Western Athletic Conference home-opener, 73-68, at the Pan American Center.

The win pushed the Aggies to 12-3 on the year and 8-1 when playing at home. It was also NM State’s third-straight win when playing in its WAC opener under head coach Mark Trakh and put the Aggies at 7-4 all-time in their conference opener.

The third quarter proved to be the key to NM State’s success on Thursday night as they Aggies (12-3, 1-0 WAC) outscored the Wolverines (7-9, 0-1 WAC) 15-9.

With NM State leading 44-39 after a Mack jumper in the paint, Brooke Salas drilled a 3-pointer on the baseline to extend the lead. After UVU’s Mariah Seals drive to the basket, Mack answered with a triple on the far wing to put the Aggies on top 50-41 heading into the final quarter.

NM State had its largest lead at the 4:16 mark, 62-49, in the fourth when Shanice Davis rattled in a deep-ball by the NM State bench just moments after Mack drilled her third triple.

Utah Valley began chipping away at the lead late in the fourth quarter behind the play of Sam Loggins, who scored 13 of her 16 points in the second half – including 11 in the fourth. Loggins also had help from Deijah Blanks, who had a team-high 17 points for the Wolverines, but it just wasn’t enough as the defending WAC champions closed out the game with 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

Freeman and Mack both had great starts to the game for NM State, tallying six and five points respectively to give the Aggies a 16-15 edge.

The second quarter was much like the first with both teams exchanging baskets. The Aggies were able to take a 35-32 lead into the break thanks to Mack, who had 11 of her 21 points in the first half on 5-of-5 shooting.

Sasha Weber also scored seven of her 11 points in the first half to give NM State the slight edge after she buried a jumper with 30 seconds left in the first half.

Tamera William had a great game on the glass for NM State, bringing down her first double-digit rebounding effort since her career-high 13 boards against Southern Utah (11/24).

The Aggies now prepare for Grand Canyon (8-9, 0-1 WAC), whom they will play at the Pan Am on Saturday at 2 p.m. (MT). The ‘Lopes recently fell to UT Rio Grande Valley 52-28 on the road Thursday night.

POSTGAME NOTES: Thursday’s win puts NM State at 24-18 all-time in conference openers and 7-4 since joining the WAC…Head coach Mark Trakh is now 4-2 in conference openers and the Aggies are 3-3 when playing their conference opener at home…Freeman officially took sole possession of 10th-place in the NM State all-time blocks record book (68) when she denied Karlee Norris at the 6:26 mark in the third quarter…With her 11 points tonight, Weber is now 15 points shy of passing Jeanette Feaster (1,323, 1982-86) for 12th all-time in scoring…The Aggies have now won three-straight over UVU.