Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS VEGAS, NV - New Mexico State women’s basketball played their second game of the Play4Kay Shootout against the home-town favorite UNLV Rebels on Tuesday afternoon. A hard-fought game from start to finish saw nine lead changes as the Aggies ultimately dropped the contest to the Rebels, 52-47.
Impressed with how the team competed against a strong Mountain West opponent, head coach Mark Trakh commented, “They’re a good team that is bigger than us in every position. They are one of the best rebounding teams in the country and I thought we played them well. I’m proud of how the team came out and fought tonight.”
The first quarter of the contest saw the Aggies respond from their loss on Monday as they came out with a sense of urgency after winning the opening tip. NM State challenged the perimeter players on UNLV, knowing they were without a feature guard, as Brooke Salas and Zaire Williams each hit early threes to hold the teams lead as the quarter ended with the Aggies ahead, 13-12.
The hometown team looked to respond in the second quarter as they started with a 6-0 run, putting the Aggies down 18-13 in the first minute. NM State answered the call with strong defense, only allowing five points over the remaining quarter of play and holding the opponent to 25 percent from the field. The Aggies also challenged the taller UNLV squad down low as they equaled UNLV’s points in the paint (8-8) and beat them on the boards (21-20) after one half.
As the teams entered the locker rooms, the Aggies trailed 23-20. Brooke Salas finished the half with seven points and Tamera William contributed six points and seven rebounds.
NM State came out flying in the second half with a 12-2 run to open the third quarter. The run was highlighted by back-to-back three-pointers from Zaire Williams and Tamera William, which was followed by a steal and lay-up from Moriah Mack to put the Aggies up 32-25. The hot play by the team forced UNLV to call a timeout just two minutes into the quarter.
The call helped as UNLV ended the quarter on a 10-5 run and cut into the Aggies lead as they went into the fourth ahead of the Rebels by only two points, 37-35. The third quarter was the best shooting period from NM State as they shot 41.2 percent from the field (7-17).
After weathering the storm brought on by the Aggies, UNLV carried an 11-3 run into the fourth quarter which put New Mexico State down 44-40. 5:30 into the fourth quarter, the Aggies had hit a scoring drought and only knocked down one basket, a three-pointer from Brooke Salas, over that time. Late in the game, the defensive pressure looked to change the momentum, but time was NM State’s biggest enemy as the clock rolled to 0:00 and the Aggies dropped a hard-fought battle to the UNLV Rebels, 52-47.
At the end of the game, New Mexico State was led by Brooke Salas who dropped 14 points with four rebounds and Tamera William who added 12 points to go along with nine rebounds. The team fought for every board as they tied the taller UNLV in rebounds after 40 minutes (35-35). For the 11th time this season the Aggies forced more turnovers than their opponents (18-17) which helped keep the game close.
After the loss, NM State moves to 7-5 on the year. The team’s final game at the Play4Kay Shootout will pit the team against the Santa Clara Broncos on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. MT.