NMSU Women's Basketball Blows Out Pepperdine 86-64

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

MALIBU, CA - The New Mexico State women's basketball team defeated Pepperdine at Firestone Fieldhouse on Sunday afternoon. Behind a career-high 32 points for Brooke Salas and 16 assists for Zaire Williams, the Aggies topped the Waves 86-64 for the team’s first road victory.

“This was a good win for us because Pepperdine is a good team. We worked hard for the victory today,” head coach Brooke Atkinson said. “We talked about this being a business trip. From our practices coming into the game, the team was focused and ready to compete,”

How It Happened

NM State (4-6) got off to a hot start, scoring the first nine points of the contest. The Waves (4-6) countered with a streak of their own, posting a 4-0 run that was snapped by a jumper from Salas with 3:54 remaining in the quarter. The Aggies continued to maintain their advantage over the Waves, but a three by Pepperdine with seconds remaining in the quarter cut the lead to 17-13 at the break.

In the second quarter, New Mexico State continued to dominate offensively, outscoring the Waves 18-9 before the media timeout. The Aggie offense continued to overpower Pepperdine and Williams and Gia Pack hit three-pointers on back-to-back possessions with 3:37 remaining in the half. Despite holding a 45-25 advantage late, the NM State defense hit trouble with the team giving up a six-point run to end the half. However, the rally was not enough stop New Mexico State from leading 47-33 at the break.

At halftime, Salas led all players with 17 points, followed closely behind by Pack who posted 14. Williams tallied eight points and bested her season record for assists with 11 in the half.

Salas came out shooting for the Aggies in the third quarter, scoring NM State’s first three baskets of the second half. Monique Mills hit a shot from beyond the arc to put the Aggies ahead by 24, the team’s largest lead in the quarter, with 4:48 remaining. From that point forward, NM State traded baskets with the Waves and despite Pepperdine hitting a three-pointer as time expired, New Mexico State maintained its 69-50 advantage heading into the final quarter.

NM State continued to dominate offensively in the fourth quarter and a three-point shot by Williams started an 8-0 run for the Aggies, which put the team ahead by 28. The Waves posted a 5-0 run late in the quarter but it was not enough to stop NM State and the Aggies picked up the 86-64 road victory.

“I hope that this game makes a statement for our team. We can have games where baskets fall and some games where they don’t but we have to keep playing,” Atkinson said. “We defended and kept their best scorer to 11 points and one rebound. We played relentless and tough and we have the ability to play that way, whether baskets fall or not.”

By the Numbers

Salas bested her career record for points in the game, scoring 32 in the victory. Williams left her name in the NM State record books for assists in a single game when she posted 16 for second all-time. She also 13 points for her second double-double this season. Pack was a rebound shy of a double-double as she tallied 14 points and nine rebounds.

For their next contest, the Aggies take on tough competition at the Long Beach Classic, hosted by Long Beach State. NM State opens the tournament against Northeastern on Wednesday, December 20, at 6 p.m. MT.