Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State Aggies women's basketball team squared off against Western Athletic Conference opponent the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners on Thursday night in the Pan American Center. A solid game throughout for the Aggies saw strong defense and good team offense give NM State their 10th straight victory with a 69-55 victory.
After the victory, head coach Mark Trakh was asked about the team's performance as he commented, "Bakersfield was a good defensive team who has won four in a row, but we ran a great man offense which is tough for teams to contain. CSU tried to make a comeback and kept it close, but I thought our kids played good defense and came out with a strong win tonight."
As the game opened with a 7-0 run by NM State, Bakersfield quickly called a timeout to not let the scoring continue. Coming off the break, the Roadrunners hit a few big threes to keep the game close as the opening quarter ended with the Aggies still ahead by seven, 19-12.
Carrying in a run from the end of the first quarter, NM State quickly jumped out on a 14-0 scoring clip to take hold of the lead. The Aggie defense was able to hold the Roadrunners scoreless until the 2:43 mark of the second quarter, but the calls fell Bakersfield's way as free throws kept them close. The opponent hit nine of their 10 free throws in comparison with zero for NM State to keep the Aggies lead to only 35-26 after two quarters.
Heading to the locker room, scoring was led by Brooke Salas who put up 10 and Brianna Freeman who added six points with six rebounds. The Aggies lead was built off of outscoring the Roadrunners in the paint (18-2) and off of turnovers (12-1), as they closed out 20 minutes on top.
CSU Bakersfield looked to answer in the third quarter as each team traded baskets over the first four minutes of play. However, NM State again jumped out on a 13-0 run to close out the quarter ahead, 53-32.
The opponent still looked to close the gap as they began the final quarter with an 8-0 run, forcing coach Trakh to call a timeout and settle things down. The call worked as NM State outscored Bakersfield 16-15 to end the game and take home a 69-55 win.
The victory for the Aggies saw four players finish in double figures, led by Brooke Salas with 16 points, Zaire Williams with a season-high 15, Moriah Mack added 14 and Brianna Freeman finished with a double-double after scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Much of the team's success was built off of defense which held Bakersfield's top scorers fairly quiet on the night, including holding the Roadrunners season-leader Erika Williams (11.9 PPG) to zero points on the night. The battle on the glass also went NM State's way as they tied a season-high in rebounds (52), previously accomplished on opening night against San Jose State on Nov. 11.
The 10th win in a row for NM State moves the team to 17-6 on the year, including 9-0 in WAC play. A short break for the team will see them return to the Pan Am floor for a contest against Grand Canyon (12-9, 4-4) at 2 p.m. MT on Sunday, Feb. 12.